Author: Edina Djorovic (Naša radost Preschool Organisation, Subotica – Serbia)
Date of activity: 11.- 19th of April 2022.
This spring in our kindergarten we could hardly wait for the nice weather to conduct our STEM activities outdoors. The children were inspired by the colors, sounds, smells, and especially by the buzzing sound from a tree in our schoolyard. The tree was blossoming and it was full of bees.
My class of preschoolers called “Ladybugs” (age 4-5) became very curious about what is happening. We decided to research more about the topic, and for that, we find great resource material among the Scientix lesson plans. http://www.scientix.eu/resources/details?resourceId=24014 This lesson is suitable not only for primary school students but also for younger children who learn about how important the bees are to keep the environmental natural balance. This activity is not only about science; it shows that mathematics exists in our daily life and in nature.
My students already knew that bees are winged insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey. Among the children, there is a little girl whose family is engaged in beekeeping, so that is why we asked the parents to make us a little video about bees, hives, and the honey-making process.
The video increased their interest in bees, and we invited the parents to join the project by doing some research, founding materials, and even giving us some new ideas, a new direction for our project. Our goal was the following:
- Children learn about the life and behavior of bees.
- They experience the advantages of hexagonal structures, such as the honeycomb
- Try to decode and read the bee language.
We focused on the unique relationship between flowers and bees:
• Why do bees need flowers?
• Why do flowers need bees?
• What is the problem for the bees?
• What causes the problem?
The class researched a meadow near our kindergarten. They looked for dandelions, daisies, and violets took some pictures with the digital camera, tried to catch pollen from the flowers with their little fingers, etc. We also captured some bees, ants, and other insects on camera. I am always encouraging my students to document everything they want to discuss later, so we always make a video material of their photographs.
It was time to repeat what we have learned about bees. I created a small game quiz for my students by using Educaplay. ( https://www.educaplay.com/learning-resources/11768603-pcele.html ) In this game, we answered questions about the outlook of the bees, their habitat, and their importance. After playing, we organized a video call with our friends from another kindergarten, and shared with them our information about bees, learned together, and played the quiz together too.
Group work: Design your own honeycomb!
After the S and T (science and technology) it was time for E and M (engineering and mathematics)!
We already knew that honey Bees are social animals, they live together in big groups in the beehive. In this beehive, which is made from wax, they store their food (honey) and breed their larvae. They need rooms to store their honey or to breed the little bees.
• The children watched a movie that shows the life of bees in a beehive. They saw the larvae in their rooms. They saw the vertical pilling of the rooms.
• The children got paper and glue and in small groups, they designed their own 3D honeycomb.
– No empty spaces between the shapes
– Needs to be strong (be able to stand up vertical)
The Bee Dance
After watching an educational video about the dance of the bees, we tried to decode their movements.
Bees are always looking for flowers. They tell each other where there are flowers, how far these flowers are, in which direction, etc.
Based on some examples of bee dances, the students discussed:
• In which direction do you think the flowers are now?
• What would the bee do if the flowers are in another direction? What will change?
• What is the difference with the former dance?
We decided to make some bee codes too, by programming the Bee bot. The task was to match the bees with their hives (numbers from 1-to 3), The Bee bot had to find its way home by choosing the shortest path, but in the meantime, it had to collect pollen too from the flowers. This activity was also created as a Codeweek activity, and we got the Codeweek certificate too.