Getting Down to BEES-ness

by Michael Porter
In October the third graders had some special visitors — thousands of them! As part of their unit on life cycles, Carol McBryde and Kathy Johnson from the Florida Beekeepers Association dropped by with a small hive of bees to educate the students on the fascinating life of the little pollinators.
The beekeepers visit has been an annual event for third grade for several years, but this was the first time it was attended by Mr. Chris Johnson, our new Head of School. He was as interested in the topic as were the kids, and was a ready volunteer when it came time to try on the "bee suit."
"You always want to wear white to calm the bees," noted third grader Benji P.

For humans, bees are beneficial for their ability to pollinate plants as they visit various blossoms to collect nectar. From this, the bee produces a tiny amount of honey. It takes literally thousands of bees, all working hard, to produce a harvestable quantity of honey.
Benji noted, "There are about 10 to 50 thousand bees in a hive."
Pre-K 4 teacher Rose Ennis joined in to answer questions. Ms. Ennis, who is an experienced beekeeper, arranged for this event.
Our studious young Sharks took many notes during the presentation, as if they were college students attending a lecture.

Third grader Awn A. was enthralled by the queen bee, who is the leading bee in the hive.
"The queen bee is bigger than the drones and worker bees," Awn said. "The worker bees do all the work. When the queen dies they make a cell for her and they get an egg and feed her royal jelly, which is made out of the nectar and pollen and some other ingredients that worker bees collect to make."
The life of bees and the social structure of the beehive is complex and a fascinating field of study.
Sharky sends his thanks to Ms. McBryde, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Ennis for their expertise; and to the third grade students who exhibited rapt attention and exemplary behavior during the presentation.