An interdisciplinary method of study using bees as a focal point was examined on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU College of Education professors Jeremy Winters and Tracey Huddleston and assistant professor of elementary education Katie Schrodt first aired Sept. 28 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation via the SoundCloud link above.
The three scholars chronicled 20 second graders’ use of integrated units of study in learning about bees and their importance in the ecosystem.
Using methodology from language arts, science, math and social studies, MTSU education students helped local teachers guide the youngsters through three fun-filled threads of learning.
For the math portion of the lessons, the kids were tasked with helping a “Bee Bot,” a mechanized robot bee, get across a board to a beehive while trying to pollinate flowers and avoid predators. Winters said it was an elementary introduction to computer block-coding.
“They had to figure out that, once they entered a code, if they didn’t delete it, it retained all the codes,” Winters said. “Some of the students would mess up, put new code in, and what they found out was it actually had the old code and new code in there.”
The project took the MTSU education majors out of their comfort zones and challenged them to plan something less traditional than learning the parts of a bee, the educators said.
“They had to learn … some new content that really helped them connect and make new exciting lesson plans,” Schrodt said.
Huddleston said the possibilities aren’t limited to second grade students because the material can be adapted for other grades.
“We’d go through all that brainstorming, looking at the standards that are expected in each of the content areas and see how we can enhance this particular project for other grade levels,” Huddleston said.
The article was published in the May/June 2021 issue of the National Science Teaching Association journal Science and Children. It’s available to read or download as a PDF here.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.