CREATE A BUZZ WITH A RAISED PLANTER!
As with many subjects taught in schools, theory is fine, but there is no substitute for practical work in order to ensure key learning messages really stick. Teaching children about the relationship between plants and insects such as bees and butterflies is one case in point. Classroom work on the topic is all very well, but getting children outdoors to show them what it all means in a garden environment is a sure-fire way of embedding the information in their minds, and all done in a fun way.
Key messages for children to focus on are:
- Bees, butterflies and other insects transfer pollen from one plant to another while searching for nectar to drink. This means plants can then produce fruit and seeds.
- Many vegetables and fruit need to be pollinated for fruit to form. Imagine a world without bees. There might not be any more apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries, nectarines, melons, beans, peas or courgettes. Maybe even no chocolate, coffee or tomato ketchup!
- There are two main types of bee: the Bumblebee and the Honeybee. Bees deposit nectar back at the bee hive in wax tubes which form a honeycomb. This is where honey comes from.
- The population of bees has suffered huge drops in recent years. Bees are our friends, so if more gardens or open spaces contained a range of bee-friendly flowers this would provide them with more nectar and help to reverse their decline.
The aim is to encourage children to grow pollen-rich flowers in order to ‘do their bit’ for bees, and so that they can investigate the butterflies and other pollinators that visit.
With many schools lacking space for a garden, one solution is to consider raised planters. Giant planters are ideal if they are safe, strong and robust in use. Choose one with a self-regulating reservoir so that plants can remain healthy during weekends or school holidays without parents or other teachers having to water them. Something frost-proof and crack-proof with a lifetime guarantee against rotting would be best.