2016 4-H Ag Innovators Experience Kicks Off at Ohio State
Honey Bee Challenge helps students understand the connection between honey bees and food production.
Columbus, Ohio – Did you know that one in every three bites we eat is the result of honey bees at work? Now, thanks to the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (AIE), students in eight states will learn about a critical component to growing food and feeding the world – honey bees.
On Tuesday, April 19, middle school students visited the campus of The Ohio State University to participate in the ‘Honey Bee Challenge’ and experience firsthand what an important role honey bees play in agriculture and food production.
At the kickoff event, students built their own bee bots and modeled honey bee foraging routes by utilizing a tabletop mat, straws, cups, simulated pollen, a toothbrush head and a button battery. Teams were challenged to design foraging routes that allows their bee bots to collect the most pollen in the least amount of time. Throughout the experiment, the students learned about foraging behavior, including the waggle dance, and how honey bees return to the hive between each crop. Results are compared as students discuss how they can contribute to preserving and maintaining honey bee habitats. The Challenge was designed by Ohio 4-H Specialist Bob Horton and a team of experts from OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“By engaging students in learning events like the 4-H AIE Honey Bee Challenge, concepts learned in school are reinforced and applied,” said Horton, a professor in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education with the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which oversees the Ohio 4-H Youth Development program through its outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension. “Students are challenged to apply their knowledge and understanding about honey bees to design a team-driven solution to a crop pollination situation. This creates a truly powerful learning experience where students are intrinsically motivated to learn and feel the success that comes from achieving a team goal.”
This is the third year that National 4-H Council is collaborating with Monsanto Company on the 4-H Ag Innovators program, which will engage 10,000 youth in eight states to build awareness of, and interest in, agriculture innovation and careers. This year’s “Honey Bee Challenge” events will be held throughout the summer in Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska.
Ohio middle-school students use bristle-bots to create model worker bees and learn about the importance of honey bees in food production. The project is part of the 2016 4-H Ag Innovators Experience. (Cassie Reininger)
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