This video was made for the NAIS 2013-2014 Teachers of the Future group, which is creating and posting lessons online that combine issues of social equity, environmental sustainability, and technology use.
We began keeping bees at Catlin Gabel School as a Garden Club, a group of students, teachers, parents, and staff that oversees our 2,000+ square feet of organic garden spaces. Our organic gardens supply vegetables to our cafeteria for lunches, and we use our apple orchard to teach such skills as grafting and such lessons as pollination. Because the bees pollinate our orchard and most of the plants in our gardens, the bees are an integral part of our lessons around biodiversity and permaculture. In addition, they are the stars in our fall harvest festivals that produce honey, corn, pumpkins, raspberries, wheat, and apples.
We teach the students that the health of bee hives is a great indicator of bioregion health, their colony health indicating strong food sources and biodiversity in our local area. These lessons fit into a larger theme of Transition Towns and post-carbon societies, both of which are targeted in the 6th grade.