High school bee team generates STEM buzz

By: | August 28, 2018

Mamaroneck High School in New York recently launched a bee team—the first of its kind in the state—providing students a honey of an opportunity for hands-on science and engineering.

A trip to the Amazon and a friend’s hive inspired science teacher Cathy O’Reilly to create the program.

After receiving a nearly $3,000 grant for hives, beekeeper suits, a honey extractor and other necessary equipment, O’Reilly recruited the school’s engineering department and students to design and construct the hives.

Students learned the basics of beekeeping, the physics of the waggle dance and the math behind hive construction.

They also studied the genetics behind the three types of bees and their anatomical differences and jobs.

More than 200 students visited the bees last spring—including those in AP Biology classes. All ninth-graders will tour the hives, and the school’s culinary program will use any honey produced.

No honey will be collected the first year as the bees need what they make to survive their first winter.

“I wanted to find a new environmental activity for our students that could easily be adapted to include many disciplines” says O’Reilly.

“Administration, teachers, students and secretarial and custodial staff all have gotten involved so easily.”