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  1. #1
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    Question Talking with Grade School Kids

    Next week I'll be doing a day long presentation (manning a table really) talking about bees as part of an apple celebration at a grammar school. This area is very familiar with migratory bees being brought in to pollinate wild blueberries - My guess is that somewhere between 40-50,000 colonies are placed in the county each May/June.

    This is the first year bees are included as part of the program. I do have an observation hive and the weather would have been ok this afternoon for me to get bees for it. Hard to say if the weather will cooperate next week.

    What sorts of things do you think would interest the kids (grades 1-6)? I have pictures I took this past spring of bees on apple blossoms and I have a color printer so I could print out 8.5x11s of them - but that is a far cry from a table full of interesting stuff. i have previously taught a bee school so I feel reasonably prepared for the sorts of questions adults would ask - but i realize kids are not adults - so I'm feeling unprepared for kids.

    There have been lots of good thoughts on Mark's thread - I'm hoping to see as many here! TIA!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    What a great opportunity! I did a talk with 4 & 5 year olds at my grandsons pre-school. What elicited the most interest was the smoker! and it's use. Next was having a frame that had just plain foundation, then showing them the wax that was built, then if possible honey filled frame.
    I actually just picked up a package of bees from UPS and brought that in too, they were amazed at seeing a queen in a cage and the attendents. At the local Fair I brought some comb and a bee hatched, which people witnessed, and I showed them how the bee can walk on my hand and lick honey from it. Let us know hw you do! Deb

  3. #3
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    May 2011
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    Madison, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    You will have fun doing this, I did the same thing last spring. I agree with Cloverdale, bring a smoker and let them smell it and ask them what it smells like, you will be surprised at the answers (one kid said "Ribs!"), bring a hat and veil and let them try it on, have a mirror so they can see themselves in it. Bring some frames, foundation, empty brood frames with pollen, full honey frame that they can poke their finger into. Stay away from boring facts unless someone asks you. Have some nice pictures of a hive, both outside and inside, and a picture of a bee (no labels, have the kids identify familiar parts). I also made a point of showing the difference between a honey bee and a wasp, most kids call everything a "bee". If you can have something (like a one sheet handout) that they can take with them that works well also.

    I keep the pictures I used in a small binder that I take with me to Farmer's markets when I am selling honey. There are lots of chances there to interact with customers interested in honey and bees, and it helps to have some visual aids.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  4. #4
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    Scott, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    I do a school days at one our state parks a couple times a year. They love seeing the bees in the observation hives, this year I had a marked queen. They all wanted to know how she got the red mark on her. Showed them the marker I used, by marking my hand. Next thing I know I was marking all the kids hands. They come up with lots of questions be ready for them.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2006
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    Thaxton, Mississippi
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    I go to the local grammer schools when ask. I also go to a local orchard each fall for field trips. Schools from three or four counties come and we always teach about honeybees and beekeeping. The kids do love the observation hive, I only take it to the orchard, not the school. I always take a hive and super and show them the different parts of a beehive. I show them foundation, drawn foundation and honey filled frames. I have a small three frame extractor I usually take and show them how it works. Also take different size bottles of honey to show. Take some blocks of beeswax and tell how it is used in many products. Candles are also good to take if you have them. Posters or blown up pictures are good. I always take my bee suit and veil and put it on, the little ones like that. I agree they are always interested in the smoker.
    I try to spend about 20 minutes or so with each group. I also take little plastic spoons and anyone that like gets a spoonful of honey to taste. The kids seem to love to hear about beekeeping and I really enjoying sharing with them.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    I did something similar for preschool kids. The big hits were:
    1. A hat and veil that they can try on. My daughter had her beekeeping outfit, so she showed them how you get zipped up.
    2. An empty (reasonably clean) smoker that they could puff (along with a small discussion how the smoke calms bees down)
    3. A capped frame that they could try the honey out of or just a jar of honey depending on how big a mess you can stand

  7. #7
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    May 2013
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    Chattanooga, TN USA
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Point out that all the worker bees are female. They do all the foraging, they do all the building, they do everything that makes a bee hive a bee hive. Its all run exclusively on girl power!

    We need to take every opportunity we get to encourage our girls to strive to be more than Paris Hiltons or brainless arm candy for some equally brainless boy.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Andrew,
    Besides sitting at a table and answering questions or showing different things, are you going to give a formal presentation to a group(s) or class(es)? If so, what I like to do is to ask the children to tell you what they know and then guide them to more accurate information if necessary. I am always impressed by what they know.

    I talked to a small group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Graders at Church last Sunday. A boy from Zaire, here in Canton,NY while his Mother works towards her Doctorate, was full of information. He woke up that day telling his Mother that they really needed to go to Church because we were talking about bees. He had written a report for school and was very excited to share what he knew.

    So, listen to the children. That's my advice. And answer their questions. Mark the Queen if you can. And keep the observation hive covered w/ a large towel or all the children will do is crowd around the hive looking for the queen, not paying any attention to you or anyone else wanting to speak.

    Then uncover the observation hive, showing both sides if possible and have the Teacher keep the children from hogging space keeping others from seeing the bees.

    Have fun and tell us how things went. What worked and what you'll do differently the next time. Do the children know you are coming?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Roanoke, VA, USA
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    almost goes without saying, but...
    be sure the observation hive is locked and safe from being knocked over by eager kids.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Definitely mark the queen if you take an observation hive. Also helps if it's not so packed full of bees that they can clearly see the different things going on in the hive. The 4H kids also enjoyed handling the extra comb that wasn't in a frame.
    You might also have a list of pollen and nectar plants that the kids can grow in their yard to help attract and feed the honeybees.
    The kids also got a kick out of watching the bees try to get the syrup out of the feeder.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post

    I talked to a small group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Graders at Church last Sunday.
    What a good idea to do this at Church...I will ask about doing that and tie it in with some Bible verses, etc.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    What a good idea to do this at Church...I will ask about doing that and tie it in with some Bible verses, etc.
    Can't have a land of milk and honey without the cows and the bees.
    Beekeeper since 2013. Read my bee blog at:
    http://harrisonbayhoney.blogspot.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    I spent most of the day yesterday (10/25) with the kids. There were 5 stations that the kids visited in groups in the AM, 4 in the afternoon. The stations were composting, spinning (wool), antique apple variety tasting, making cider (Happy Valley Ranch press) and me for bees. Grades Pre-K through 4. Groups were about 8 in number and were at each station for 10 minutes or so. (45 minutes for each group to visit all the stations for each grade)

    What worked: Notebook with pictures to show the kids what I was talking about, frame of honey harvested 10/24, a few square inches on both sides with nectar but not capped. Kids (with really grubby fingers) wanted to touch the wax and some taste the honey - a few were scared to. (Note to self - wipes next year?)

    What didn't work: smoker - as the kids wanted to play with it and it distracted them from what I was trying to say. It was too cold yesterday AM to get bees for an observation hive (heavy frost on my windshield!) and having seen how the event worked I think an observation hive would have been too much distraction.

    A few kids wanted to try on a veil I had - the wearers were told they looked like spacemen!

    As this was an apple festival I focused on pollination - I felt I succeeded if the kids understood that each flower had to get visited by a bee (or other pollinators - I had pictures of a few native pollinators) and that bees needed more than apples to live on. Older kids got the message that the pollen needed to come from another apple tree. They liked a picture showing hives loaded on a tractor trailer. Many of the kids have some exposure to bees as a result of having parents involved in wild blueberries.

    The teachers were great - both in terms of keeping the kids focused and asking leading questions.

    The entire setup was outside - I had a folding table to put my stuff up on. In addition to the pictures I had a hive (minus bees), smoker and veil. And I was wearing a blaze orange bee jacket with veil.

    I hope they ask me to do it again next year but I wish we were doing it a bit earlier in the fall. There were a couple of yellow jackets snooping around the honey frame but I used them as an example of something that isn't a bee.

    As the kids were encouraged to bring in apples for the cider and as what many of the kids brought were drops, tasting of the cider is put off until Monday so that the cider can be pasteurized over the weekend. I made the somewhat snobbish observation that pasteurizing cider meant they were making juice and I got a good reminder of the myriad regs they have to strictly follow for school activities.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Thanks for the report!

    > I got a good reminder of the myriad regs they have to strictly follow for school activities.

    Lets hope that things don't get to the point where the school policy requires honey to be pasteurized!
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Andrew, did you have to go through a back ground check?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    Not for this - but I have been approved for substitute teaching and that required both finger printing and a BR check. I went into the school to check in at the front desk and they sent me around back to where the festival was without even getting my name.

  17. #17
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    Feb 2013
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    Indianapolis, IN
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    Default Re: Talking with Grade School Kids

    I'm a little late with this info, but maybe it can be used in the future

    My 5 year old has learn quite a bit about honeybees from a couple of Curious George episodes. One is called "Bee is for Bear" and the other is "Honey of a Monkey". They are about 15 minutes per episode, and may give you some ideas of topics that are understood by the younger kids.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kstiNk-jBR4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCUm7YZ68Cg

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