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Bees are the focus of this outdoor inquiry that engages students in leaning about plant reproduction and these remarkable insects in their natural habitat. Students locate and safely catch bees to observe structural features before releasing them unharmed. This discovery experience provides an authentic context for informed conversations about environmental issues related to pollinator species, while at the same time, strengthening connections to the natural world.
This activity supports the teaching of a number of middle school curriculum outcomes related to biodiversity, interactions within ecosystems, plant growth and sustainable development. The learning could also be extended with a citizen science project that involves students in surveying and reporting local pollinator populations through an organization like Bumble Bee Watch.
The decline in bee populations is a complex issue but an important factor is habitat loss. Students could work with a local Senior's Centre to create a wildflower garden that benefits pollinator species and provides a peaceful space for residents. A class could also develop a “bee friendly” gardening campaign that informs the local community about the benefits of purchasing organic, pesticide free nursery transplants.
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