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School: Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School

City/State: St. Louis, MO

Grade(s): 7

Format(s): Visual arts

Subject(s): Science and Technology, Social Studies

Project Overview

These products were created by 7th-grade middle school students from Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School. They harvest honey and beeswax from four beehives that they work to maintain. The honey is used in their handmade goods, and students do most of the work making, packaging, and selling the products.

Students learn about issues surrounding bees and why they are in trouble all over the world. Students study Colony Collapse Disorder and how—for unknown reasons—the bees leave their hive and never return. Students have been inspired by the dangers of Colony Collapse Disorder and it's implications worldwide. Students have worked to educate people about the importance of honey bees, advocating for bees' importance in the natural world. 

Using bee products to start a business also supports the middle school economics study in social studies. Students learn how to price and sell things, start and maintain a business, and how entrepreneurs make money doing what they love. Keeping bees helps students have fun and learn at the same time. Students have learned about the Triple Bottom Line —planet, people, and profit.  Students are also taking the next step as they research using their profits to get into micro-lending.  

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A beautiful model of entrepreneurship in support of core science learning
  • Shows well-crafted products that also raise public awareness about an important environmental issue
  • Excellent example of a project that addresses an authentic need

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