Saturday, 27 June 2015

Hands-on learning about Honey Bees

Spending time in nature and observing the little things like bugs, insects and birds have provided my children with so many learning opportunities. I have previously talked about The Nature Curriculum, as we call it, and how nature can inspire an interest and lead you on a learning adventure. This is exactly how my children's interest in bees came about.


Developing an interest
Earlier this year we had a Bee Hawk Moth visit our garden so we spent a few days observing it buzzing from flower to flower. During this observation time it brought up lots of questions; what it was, did it have a stinger, what was it doing here and was it apart of the bee family. These questions were investigated and answers were found.


A few weeks later, we observed a honey bee visiting our garden. Again the process of observation and questions occurred. One of the first questions that we investigated was whether or not this was a "mummy" bee. 


Life Cycle
We used our FREE life cycle of a honeybee nomenclature cards  to look at how a bee develops and grows from a tiny little eggs to a completely grown honeybee. We also used our Life Cycle of a Honey Bee figurines that I previously purchased from Mini Zoo.


We quickly learnt that the "Mummy" bee is called the Queen bee and she is the only bee in the hive that lays the eggs. I found this visual on How Bees Work Life Cycle for my children to see how the bees develop and grown as well as who looks after them.


Bee Anatomy
We had talked about the Queen bee and how the worker bees look after the larva and pupa as they grow. This had brought up questions about which bees collect the honey and how they carry it back to the hive. I designed and made a felt puzzle for learning about the parts of a honeybee and found these FREE parts of a honey bee nomenclature cards to go together. I presented the cards first and talked about the different names for each part of the bee. My children chose to label the felt puzzle and have been back many times to explore it on their own.


You can download my FREE Honeybee Anatomy Template that I used to make our felt honeybee puzzle from here.

Bees Home
While we were out on one of our many nature walks, we came across what we thought was an old, unoccupied wasp hive. My children were immediately fascinated by this hive which looks so much like a bee hive. We took the little hive home to make further observations and see if we can learn who might have built it.


This discovery led us to research about bee hives and what they look like. My daughters became inspired to make their own bee hive and got to work putting together their beehive from different recycled items we had before adding paint to it.


This self-constructed bee hive became the centre of play-based learning for my daughters as they role-played and made up stories about the life cycle of the honey bees and the work that the different types of bees do (such as collecting honey and caring for the pupa). By listening and watching them play, I could see how they were recalling the information we had talked and read about. Play is such an important process of learning that all children need.


Pollination 
We had talked about the important job that bees do making honey as well as how bee pollinate our flowering fruits and vegetables. Miss 5 made the connection between bees and our own watermelon that we had grown in our garden. She spent a number of hours watching the flowers on our watermelon vine till she finally saw a bee arrive and begin pollinating. We spent sometime trying to identify this little bee who we think is a native Australian honeybee.


Beeswax
We know that bees make honey but my children discovered, by reading The Life and Times of a Honey Bee by Charles Micuicci that bees also make wax. We have a local beekeeper who is going to talk with us next month so in the meantime I purchased a Beeswax Candle Making Kit from Spiral Garden for my children to explore.


Resource and Interest Shelf
As an interest in bees has grown, so has our interest shelf. We like using an interest as away of giving our resources in one place and it helps things organized. Some of the resources we have on our shelf I have already mentioned above. Books, together with google, have been used a lot during our learning and some of the books we have used are:


We also watched a few different documentaries from YouTube as well as Bee MovieMaya The Bee movie and the Magic School Bus In A Beehive which is available on YouTube. As this interest in honeybees continues I am sure our interest shelf will grow as my children's knowledge will deepen and expand, all through interest-led learning.


You can find more resources and activity ideas about Bee and other insects, over on my Insect pinterest board


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This post has been linked up with:
Favorite Things Friday
Learn and Play Link Up 

8 comments:

  1. Where did you get the large posters from "How Bees Work"?

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  2. Bees are so fascinating! We keep bees and sell honey and I still never get tired learning about them! Thanks for sharing all that you have learned with your family! Linking up with you at favorite things Friday:)

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  3. Lots of great activities and resources!

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  4. I guess you could do the same for the honey bee
    http://thecraftyclassroom.com/?s=butterfly+life+cycle+stamps
    I love your blog

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  5. Hi. I'm coming over from the link up at Every Star is Different. Thanks for the great ideas. I love the felt puzzles especially and am excited to get them started for my own family. I have lots of free homeschooling printables (many Montessori inspired) at my blog: inourpond.blogspot.com. Come and check it out when you have a bit of time.

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  6. What a lovely project! 2 of my girls were out in the garden today watching a bee and asking about a new project... what luck to stumble upon this! #Learnandplay
    http://homeschoolingcraftymama.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. These are awesome printables for learning about honey bees! Thanks for linking up at "Learn & Play" Thursday link party. :) You have been featured on Christian Montessori Network blog!

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  8. This is so awesome! I have looked high and low for a template for a bee that was true to anatomy and not some cutesy version. THANK YOU!!

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