One of the best ways to help students experience the power of creative thinking is to involve them in solving real world problems. Sometimes problems appropriate for young problem-solvers are local to a school or neighborhood, but sometimes young people can have an impact on problems of global scale. One such problem is the die off of honeybees and other pollinators. It is a situation ready for an army of problem-solvers.
Recently the U.S. White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force has released a report on improving pollinator habitat and restore pollinator health. The report includes plans to reach out to youth groups, schools, and museums, but there’s no reason not to start now.
You might start by listening to NPR’s Here and Now’s five minute introduction to the report. It can also serve as a fine introduction to older students. The associated website has a link to the federal report, for those who want to see the details.
There are lots of online resources on bees. Here’s a general place to start, and here’s a link to the American Beekeeping Foundation. There are plenty of ways for young people to be involved in saving bees—and plenty of opportunities to use creativity to plan more. What about some of these?
Plant a bee garden at home,
Campaign for changes in pesticides,
Start a public information campaign in your area,
Design a bee logo,
Plant bee-friendly plants at school, or
Create a city bee-scape on a porch or in a vacant lot.
I’m sure you can think of more. For an end-of-school project or a summer family activity that can really make a difference, think about bees.