Spring Farm Sprouts 2018 – Week #6 Wednesday PM

“No bees, no food!” was our mantra of the week. For many, we worked on facing fears by gaining knowledge and developing empathy for these tiny creatures who help support our own human survival on this planet. We signed in by tracing a line to help a worker honey bee navigate to a sunflower. Did you know that honey bees only focus on pollinating one flower species at a time? They will then “regroup” in the hive before shifting their efforts to a different species of flower. Wow! Bee communication is amazing!

In preparation for our visit to the forest next week, we voted for predators, either owls or foxes. We likely spend some time acting as those animals in the forest. What do they need to survive? How do they explore the world?

For our welcome activities, we had time to for process art utilizing beautiful insect stamps. We wonder what kinds of insects we’ll discover in the forest next week? Farm Sprouts visited with our Japanese quail chicks, fed Coltrane, joined in block play on the carpet, or explored our discovery table, on which we display our nature treasures found by Farm Sprouts during our adventures. We noticed the chicks were growing their flight feathers, with the beginning pin feathers showing bright white on their wings.

During our gathering, we acted as seeds sprouting into flowers before changing into bees as we danced to the song, “Bumblebee” by Laurie Berkner.

During our Invitations to Play, Discover, Explore! we cooked with various beans and seeds in the sensory table, painted flowers, bees, etc., and worked as beekeepers and/or farmer’s market workers, harvesting honey and selling it to costumers. Seeds become flowers, the bees pollinate the flowers, which are beautiful, a work of art of nature, and we in turn can harvest the honey made by the bees to sell at the store or market. There is such power in pretend play! Language, mathematics, collaboration, food systems, and more are all embedded through this type of play. Thank you to the Boji, Forbes, and Thwaite families for donating the bee suits. Thank you to the Hurlbert, Rubin, and Fritz families for donating the gloves and tools, including a hive tool, bee brush, and smoker. A big thank you to the Schaad family for their donations of bee “glue,” wax, candle, and honeycomb. And lastly, thank you to Ms. Marilyn for donating the skep! What in the world is a skep? Read on for a brief overview of the history on beekeeping. These items are such a wonderful addition to our program! We’ll have them back out in the next weeks as well for more opportunities to engage as beekeepers.

For begin our snack, we thought about how strawberries grow with a poem. We munched on strawberries, tasted local, creamy honey on Wasa light rye crackers, and tasted sunflower seed kernels, as requested by Farm Sprouts based on our transplanting activity last week. Without bees, this snack would not have been possible! We were feeling very grateful for bees as we filled our bellies with these sweet treats.

It was then time for a hike and today, it was off to the hives We have eight hives recently installed by Meghan Milbrath with the Department of Entomology at MSU for the purpose of research. We practiced our observation skills as we trained our eyes to see the honeybees darting in and out of the hives. We counted the hives and asked questions about them. Can bees sting each other? Do bees crash into one another? How do they go inside and out? What is happening inside? We talked about how it would feel to have a stranger invade our house and why beekeepers wear suits. Ms. Brooke suited up and headed into the bee yard, showing how at least with the honey bees, their focus is directed on seeking flowers rather than aggravating the humans surrounding their homes. We peeked inside a nucleus hive, using our senses to feel, smell and see. We’ve talked a lot about eggs and marveled that bees are another creature that hatch out of eggs! We’ve made some big strides in exploring our driving questions: How do seeds become flowers? How do bees help give us food?

To conclude the day, we documented our ideas and discoveries in our journals and enjoyed the book, Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Treckentrupp. We discovered how just one bee to make a world of difference! Thank you to the Jonckheere family for donating this beautiful story to Farm Sprouts!

Thank you to Tim McGee, Educational Leader at Tollgate and local beekeeper, for both harvesting the delicious honey for our snack and loaning us his nucleus hive. We’d also like to show our gratitude to Sheldon Schwitek and Mike Risk with the Michigan Beekeepers’ Association for their donation of the story coloring books that were sent home with your Farm Sprouts this week. From this week’s blog post, you can see the many who care deeply about bees and education. We fortunate to have such a great community of support!

Interested in learning more about bees as a family? Visit Bee Palooza on MSU’s campus on June 24th!

Want to help? Download this resource from our MSU Extension website.

“All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian Proverb

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