By Renee Fudula, Science Teacher – STEM Academy
Thanks to two grants from the Sandwich Cultural Council ($500) and Cape Cod 5 ($500), the STEM Academy 7th grade students will be taken action as Citizen Scientists.
We will be partnering with Planet Bee Foundation, a non-profit organization and San Francisco State University, to bring Citizen Science to the STEM Academy’s 7th Grade students. Dr. John Hafernik, Professor of Entomology, at San Francisco State University and ZomBee Watch founder and Professor of Entomology, recently discovered that honey bees are being affected by a zombie fly parasitoid (a parasite that always kills its host). Honey bees affected by the parasitoid are attracted to lights at night and exhibit zombie-like behavior.
Our objective is that our students will discover the joy of participating in current and important honey bee research for real scientists and be able to document whether Massachusetts’s honey bees are being infected by a zombie fly parasitoid.
Honey bees affected by the parasitoid are attracted to lights at night and exhibit zombie-like behavior. We hope to build light traps, using recyclables, light bulbs, switches and fixtures, and document that zombie bees live in Massachusetts, as this has not ever been done before.
They will also learn the importance of pollination and how essential honey bee populations are to our health and wellbeing.
The ZomBee Watch Project consists of two skyping sessions in April and May or June, 2017 to all 230 7th Grade students. This will include includes in-depth lessons. Students will design and build their own light traps, using recyclables, light bulbs and switches, and contribute their data to a nation-wide Citizen Science Watch project taking place around the world.
The project will be evaluated by assessments, which include the designing and building of light traps, lesson assessments based on group project-based learning and collaboration. Teachers and students will gauge the success of the ZomBee Watch Project was successful or not, whether students are engaged in the Citizen Science Watch project. Teachers will be involved in evaluating the curriculum content for the Planet Bee Foundation.