Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Buzzin in the Gan

In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, we explored pollinators in the gan.  Specifically, we investigated the Honey Bee.  We looked at the plants in the garden and found bees visiting certain flowers.      
We found where the pollen is located on the flowers, and even dusted some off to feel how soft it is on our fingers.  The pollen sticks to the bee's back leg.  It is called a pollen basket.
We went on a discovery walk through the garden to see how many different types of flowers were in bloom.  We reported on our research and decided that the flowers were different colors, different shapes, some were dead, and some were still growing.

We noticed that the bees were visiting some flowers, but not others.  The big red flower with all the pollen was not attracting bees.  The bees seem to be visiting white flowers and yellow flowers.  We learned that bees see ultraviolet spectrum colors.  Red does not show up in this spectrum, so bees usually don't notice red flowers.

We used a blue viewing lens to look at the red flowers the way a bee would see them.
We noticed that the color red just blended into the background.
Some of our students chose to find a quiet place in the gan and journal.  They chose an area near a favorite flower.  Then they documented their choice by sketching the flower.

This activity supports pre-writing skills.  It also challenges the student to represent a three-dimensional object in a one-dimensional medium.

The younger students used bee finger puppets, and pretended to pollinate the flowers in the garden. 

They chose the flowers based on color.  They remembered that bees don't see the color red
To extend our understanding, we invited a local beekeeper to visit.  We learned that a hive has one queen, several drones, and alot of worker bees.  It was fun to touch the honeycomb.  It is soft, and a little sticky.  It has a smell too!

During a taste test, we learned that honey can taste different depending on where the pollen came from.  It can be different colors, too.  We dipped apple slices in each type of honey to ensure a sweet New Year.

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