Thursday, February 23, 2012

This week in class, our Club began to learn about insects and their importance in wetlands landscapes! After going over the basic characteristics of insects, including similar features and body parts, we focused on bees. Most of the children recognize that bees are important because they make honey, which humans can sell and is a tasty treat but one of the goals of the lesson was to demonstrate how important bees are to agricultural communities and ecosystems in general. Because of the large role they play in pollinating farmers’ crops, it is important to help protect beehives and treat the insects with respect instead of trying to remove them or seeing them as a threat when they are in nature.

The lesson began with the students learning about the life cycles and social structures of bees, along with what bees eat and how they make honey. The children also learned that it is important to limit the amount of pesticides and fertilizers on plants because the chemicals can hurt the bees as they fly from plant to plant and are exposed to them.
After the lesson, the children went outside to play a game based on the activities of worker bees and their interactions with each other. A combination of Hide and Seek and Tag, this game required the students to break up into three groups, two hives and one group of “flowers”. The “flowers” were given strips of paper to represent nectar and then ran to hide from the “bees”. One student from each hive was elected as the “queen bee” and in charge of the hive and the “worker bees”. The “worker bees” were responsible for collecting nectar from the “flowers” and returning it to the hive. When the students found a new group of flowers they were supposed to do a special dance to indicate to their fellow “bees” that they had found nectar. At the end of the game, the hive with the most nectar won. The kids loved this game, some were even buzzing out loud as they ran around finding “flowers”!

Next week we will continue to learn about insects - butterflies!

Ecosystem health reflects the balance and integrity of the components! 

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