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Bees at School

Bradley James
Co-owner of Beepods™

August 2017

Yes, it is very possible to keep bees at school. In fact, educators around the world are finding innovative ways to use bees to engage students and to promote cross-curricular skill development.

Kip Jacobs, a science teacher at the University School of Milwaukee, implemented the Beepods™ beekeeping system so his middle and high school students could study bees in a more tangible manner in an outdoor environment. Jacobs knew that keeping bees at school would have many advantages. Not only would it provide educational opportunities, it would also have a positive physical impact on the school’s green space.

Bees can be an engaging and successful school project,
promoting cross-curricular development and enhancing a school’s green space.

Adding bees to the curriculum

A few years ago, Jacobs started a gardening program at the school. Not long after, he spoke with school administrators and teachers about adding bees to the curriculum. Jacobs knew it was best to educate the other stakeholders and to generate a buzz about the bees before pitching the idea to the school board. Getting the whole school excited could bring additional advocacy to the project. Jacobs spoke with several members of the staff, including the nurse, about health and safety. The support was there, and soon Jacobs began implementing his plan of augmenting the gardening program with bees.

honey beeSeveral other teachers at the school became interested in the bees once they were in place. Other local educators have also been inspired by Jacobs’ idea of bringing bees to school. At nearby Nicolet High School, science teacher Andi Winkle teamed up with the art department to install a Beepods™ beekeeping system. There, the science students maintain the hive, and art students use products from the hive to create art.

Taking care of the bees

In both cases, many students are excited about helping take care of the hive and have become mentors to the younger students. The students can explore the bees through a combination of interaction, classroom studies, and technology. This hands-on teaching tool is more stimulating for the students than a simple lecture because they can interact with the bees themselves. This interaction excites the students, holds their focus, and helps them to retain the information they are learning.

If you are looking to add bees to your curriculum, check out all the great Beepods™ options to help you bring the excitement of hands-on learning into your classroom.

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