Most people try to get bugs out of buildings, but Central Park School for Children welcomes them in. A new project taken on by third-grade teacher Chanel Carrell led to the installation of an “observation hive” of bees at the school, which helps students become excited and engaged in learning about the environment.
After a visit to Bayer Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, Chanel was inspired by the students’ interest and fascination with the bees. She wanted to find a way to bring this sort of energy to the school every day. With an observation hive installed in the hallway of Central Park School, students don’t need a science lab or a nature center to learn about bees.
Thanks to a grant and lots of team effort, the school building was equipped for bees, and the observation hive was constructed. North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) sponsored the four pounds of bees that would go into the hive. Kindergarten teacher Scott Larson built the hive with wood and glass donated by Rice’s Glass Company. Students can easily watch the busy bees thanks to the placement in the hallway and glass window on the observation hive.
Bob Gotwals, a beekeeper and educator at NCSSM, hopes to see a growing demand for projects like this around the Triangle. He notes the benefits of learning about bees at a young age, explaining, “having living organisms in a school is unbelievably educational. There’s just a million things kids can learn and come to appreciate. Bees are eusocial, which means they all work together to maintain their community. That’s a great sort of message to send – be like the bees!” Bob says the bees also provide an avenue to teaching kids about the critical role bees play in agriculture and food supply.
It’s obvious that the students share Bob’s enthusiasm, as the installation of the hive was met with cheers and curiosity from students about the bees’ lifestyles. Joe Otto, 11, commented, “this is a really good idea because I love bees. This is going to be awesome for the school.”