My next door neighbour has been having lots of work done in her front garden, including a smart set of iron railings with knobs on top. The rails are all of uniform height except at the gate where the nine rails form an apex.  Yesterday, as I passed by, Joan was there with daughter and granddaughter in her arms.  In order to entertain and instruct the youngster, I got out my trusty Swiss Army knife and used it to tap on the knobs of the rails at the gate, playing the tune of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’.  I think Joan was more impressed than her Granddaughter!

Joan then warned me to expect to be contacted by the village School (where she is Deputy Head), not to play music, but to talk bees.  The subject had come up and Joan mentioned that I am the village beekeeper.  I gave a talk there last year to 10 years olds which went well but, this time, the class will be aged about 7. Joan advised me to speak s-l-o-w-l-y, dress up as a beekeeper and make plenty of movements to keep their attention.

I have no idea what 7 year olds want to know about bees.  I suppose I could take along some honey as I did last time. Have YOU any ideas?


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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4 Responses to OFF THE RAILS!

  1. Hi Chris,
    Find out whether they’ve been studying anything relevant. There’s a national curriculum strand on biology at this age, going by titles like ‘living things’ and ‘growth’. I had some 7 year olds from a local primary last week who’ve been learning about insects. They knew about larvae and one had been saving a question for me – what do bees use those extra 3 eyes for? That was a good opportunity to talk about there being lots of things we don’t yet understand about nature, and maybe she would be a scientist and find out some of them.
    For aids I used a jar of propolis (smell the hive); comb pieces, – I have foundation free comb from Warre top bar hives. A couple of half-built combs on top bars. Some mooshed-up honeycomb in a biscuit tin (smell again). Some solar-melted wax (nice runny shapes & sweet smell). And hive components – floor, one box, quilt and roof – so they could work out how it fitted together. Among other things we talked about how bees get things done by working together & how the queen’s not the boss, it’s the workers who get together to run the hive. We also acted how bees stay warm in winter: a teaching assistant as queen, the kids clustering round her & humming & vibrating and taking turns (more or less!) to wiggle to the outside/inside.
    So there y’go …

    • When I taught a class of 10 year olds, I took along a top bar with honeycomb attached. After explaining what it was, I asked the teacher to cut it into 32 pieces (one for her, one for me and one for each pupil) and distribute it. Imagine 30 kids on a simultaneous sugar high! They had to take a run round the playground to work it off! I explained about the bee dances and got a girl dancing while the rest interpreted her movements. I aimed to talk/demonstrate for 40 minutes and hit that target, but the kids asked me questions for another 20 minutes, so I must have interested them.

  2. Emily Heath says:

    When I spoke about bees to some kids at a local library, the boys seemed very interested in the grisly details of the mating flights.

  3. e-mail aewaldo says:

    When I did one for nursery children I took dead wasps, bees, bumbles, flies and hoverflies to make sure they knew the difference and that seemed to work well but can you find examples on your window sills and sheds etc to make up examples,

    On 3 April 2013 11:00, Chris Slade’s Bee Blog

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