A Honeybee Society, Alison’s Montessori

Zoology, 3-6, 6-12

  • Have you heard of honeybee societies? Honeybees have developed one of the most complex communal colonies among animals.
A Honeybee Society Puzzle, Alison’s Montessori
  • Alison’s Montessori had the brilliant idea to create this new science puzzle, A Honeybee Society, which depicts life in a honeybee society. With the children, we decided to not only study these amazing creatures, but to visit a local apiculture farm.
  • The new puzzle “A Honeybee Society” along with the new Life Cycle of a Bee puzzle had the children gain greater interest in bees. They already knew to protect them from extinction by avoiding pesticides, by planting wild flowers, and by providing a tired bee some sugared water.
  • Using the puzzle had left a permanent mark in the mind through manipulation and visualization. Each part of the puzzle, as with every puzzle from Alison’s Montessori, isolates a concept. Therefore, children are able to focus on each component of the puzzle: the queen, the worker bee, the drone, a cell with larva, and a cell with honey.
  • When we visited the farm, the beekeeper, Ms. Wendy, knew exactly what would amaze the children. She captured the queen for them to observe. She pulled all the hives until she found emerging bees, We witnessed emerging bees coming out of a cells and being escorted by worker bees. It was one of the best field trips we ever had despite the scorching heat on that day!
Top: A Honeybee Society Bottom: Life Cycle of a Bee

Materials

  • A Honeybee Society Wooden Puzzle with Labels and Control Chart
  • Life Cycle of a Bee Puzzle with Labels and Control Chart
  • Life Cycle of a Bee Figurines
  • Books (The Beeman, Bees: A Honeyed History)

How we used them

  • I like to introduce a topic with books. I invited the children to read a book together. They were excited to use the new puzzle “A Honeybee Society,” and I had told them I was waiting to hear back from the beekeeper for a potential real life experience. This augmented the learning enthusiasm.
  • After reading a book, “The Beeman,” we looked at a second book with a technical explanation of honeybee colonies. The children had many questions that I used to encourage inquiry-based research. We then used the Life Cycle of a Bee Puzzle before exploring the large puzzle, of which I explained all parts. In effect, there are 3 types of honeybees:

-The Queen: unique in the beehive, she is responsible for reproduction. The queen is fed royal jelly from birth, and can lay up to 1500 eggs per day. She will lay about 1 million eggs in a lifetime. Another interesting fact about the queen is that she has control over the gender of the bee that will emerge from each egg.

-The Drone: drones are the male honeybees. Their workload is light in comparison to honeybee workers. They help the queen with reproduction to propagate the species, and go feed on the honey present in the beehive.

-The Workers: workers are the female honeybees. They have an important role to perform within their 5 to 7 week lifespan. Honeybees workers go through 4 phases from birth to death. They work on maintaining the cells clean, caring for the larvae, tending the queen, foraging and storing honey, and feeding other honeybees.

Look at this honey! Just like on the puzzle.
  • After having taken the puzzle apart to isolate each component mentioned, the children put the puzzle back together while asking more questions. We put the puzzle on the shelf so that we could use it again. In the meantime, we had received news that we could visit the apiculture farm at the beginning of next week. That is when the children wore beekeeper suits and ventured in the fields of beehives among wild flowers.
  • I’ll never forget my personal impression; I was not seeing the beehives, but the impressions that the puzzle had left on me. A Honeybee Society Puzzle made me remember how important it is to have support materials at home to sustain knowledge and interest of long-life learners.
  • We haven’t researched much more about honeybees to be honest. The field trip sufficed to respond to the children’s inquiries, thanks to Wendy! We will be revisiting the topic in the fall, when children will be scooped in the classrooms. Until then, we can still enjoy honeybees around our lavender bushes, and also their yummy honey!

The materials presented in this post were kindly granted to me by Alison’s Montessori. I write honest reviews to inspire parents and educators who seek to enrich children’s learning environment. The post may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. It helps with the site maintainance fees. I hope you enjoyed our personal experience, and the visuals presented on this post.

Mason’s Hive in our Yard

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