In an English class at Minuteman High School, students read and analyzed poems about bees by William Shakespeare. In a horticulture class, they learned how to manage multiple bee colonies outside the school. In an algebra class, students developed a mathematical model to describe the declining bee population. And in a carpentry class, they built and painted wooden beehives.
Students and teachers have been buzzing about bees this month -- all part of a schoolwide project on bees in honor of World Bee Day on May 20. Nearly all of the school’s 18 career technical education programs and its academic courses have been involved in learning about bees.
“The World Bee Day integration project is an excellent example of how Minuteman High School makes education relevant for students,” Superintendent-Director Edward A. Bouquillon said in a May 18 news release. “When students can relate lessons to the world around them, it’s clear they become more interested and engaged in their learning.”
Hands-on lessons about bees were integrated into Minuteman High School last year when horticulture instructor Peter Kelleher installed beehives outside the school. Students and teachers from multiple programs have put on beekeeping safety suits and worked with the beehives as part of the school’s effort to integrate lessons between academic courses and career technical education programs.
Recognized by the United Nations, World Bee Day is intended to raise awareness of the ecological importance of bees, along with their growing threat of extinction.
As part of the school-wide project, culinary arts students baked bee-themed desserts and Engineering students used 3D printers to create bee- and honeycomb-shaped earrings and bracelets – all of which were sold during lunch time to raise money for a school environmental sustainability fund.
Multimedia engineering students are filming video presentations of the bee projects, which will be posted on Youtube.com/minutemanhighschool.
“I’m grateful for our awesome teachers who launched the World Bee Day project and boosted excitement in student learning,” said Principal George Clement. “The teacher collaboration led to a fun and educational experience for the students.”
Examples of World Bee Day Projects:
Culinary arts and horticulture: Students learned how to harvest raw honey from the beehives installed outside Minuteman’s building. Freshmen students harvested 1 gallon of raw honey from the hives. Students also made several visits to the beehives to learn about maintaining and harvesting bees.
Horticulture: In addition to regularly tending to beehives, students read and discussed articles about native bees and the foods they need to survive. Using this knowledge, they created a native garden to support the native bee population.
Environmental science: Students embarked on a case study about Colony Collapse Disorder and will present findings and suggestions that would impact small farm beekeepers.
Biotechnology: Students used honey derived from Minuteman’s beehives to test for antimicrobial properties of honey. Students tested honey for its effect on growth of E. coli, a common laboratory bacterial strain and human pathogen.
Carpentry: Students constructed and painted two Long Langstroth beehives.
Plumbing: Students created a water bubbler that can provide water to beehives.
Electrical wiring: Students created a green energy trailer that will supply 100% green power to the bee water bubbler created by the Plumbing students.
Health assisting, horticulture and culinary arts: School Nurse Victoria Morgan taught students about anaphylaxis and how to administer an Epi Pen and first aid for the treatment of bee stings.
Robotics and automation: Students created a solar-powered bee toy that buzzes and moves when exposed to light.
Engineering: Students used 3D printers to design bee-themed jewelry, such as honeycomb-shaped earrings. In a separate project, students researched the impact of air, water, and pesticide pollution on bees. They then designed a pollution mitigation mechanism using computer-aided design.
Studio art: Students designed 2D artwork using bees as the subject matter and some of this work was displayed in the school.
Design and visual communications: Students designed bee-themed stickers that can be sold at crafts table for the student fund-raiser.
Cosmetology: Students conducted research about the benefits of beeswax in skin care products. Students additionally held demonstrations using bee-derived products, such as a honey and yogurt hair mask and Gigi Honee Wax.
Health assisting: Students reviewed studies about the medicinal use of honey in a health-care setting.
This news announcement was published Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Providing the information is Dan O'Brien, who works for Minuteman.
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