Exploring STEM in the Garden

Typically when someone mentions STEM education, computer coding and robotics are the core of the conversation. However, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education encompasses a vast array of topics.  I have learned, this summer, how little young adults know about the wonders of STEM.

On the first day of GENERATION2050 summer camp, many of the students were skeptical about working in the garden. Most were terrified of bees. Some even told me that they hated science and math classes. Their looked so surprised when I told them if they didn’t like math and science they clearly couldn’t understand how amazing they were. Our bodies, alone, are miracles described by chemistry, biology, physics, and math!

Since those first few days of camp, GENERATION2050 students have learned concepts in math, chemistry, biology, botany, entomology, and soil science in the classroom and in Trinity Church’s Urban Garden. Nine of the students have successfully passed a beekeeping written and practical exam, so far.

We asked a few of the Beekeeping 101 graduates how they felt about working with the bees and the prospect of becoming a beekeeping apprentice. This is what they had to say:

“To be honest in the beginning, I never cared about bees, but as I learn in GENERATION2050  bees are very important to the world and we need them. So now, I see bees in a whole different way. So now when I think about being an apprentice, you can call me anytime. I would love to do it.” ~ Destiny

“Beekeeping makes me feel courageous. I used to be scared and run. Now I feel comfortable around them because I learned so much. I feel good about having the opportunity to be an apprentice because it can become a job and I can create a business and continue learning about bees.” ~ Jasmine

“I feel like I have taken another step in my life. Bees scared me. I used to smack them away.
I never thought bees could be that nice to you. So being an apprentice makes me happy.” ~ Patrick

“Bees are like people. If you’re not careful, the bees will get aggravated. But if you treat them like they are family, you will be alright. Being an apprentice is an opportunity I thought I would never get.
I am very appreciative to my teachers and people who supported me.” ~ Donald

“Beekeeping makes me feel like I am doing something to improve or help the environment. It makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger then myself. I would love the opportunity to be an apprentice because it would give me more hands on expertise with the bees. It’ll give me closer connection to them and help me to understand how they function. Before coming into close, personal contact with the bees, I was afraid of what it would feel like to have them crawl on me. Now that I have been able to touch the bees and look at them at a level other than just seeing them in videos or pictures, I feel more connected to them and comfortable around them.” ~ Asya

“Going into the hive today was like entering another world. The bees have their own system completely different from ours. Taking into consideration that we do depend on each other, takes you down a peg in a good way. Being a beekeeping apprentice is a wonderful opportunity that I could have in order to enter each of these tiny different worlds and learn.” ~ Jaylin

I think exploring in the garden has given these GENERATION2050 students have a new appreciation for STEM!

(Photo credits: Deon Gedeon and Serena Pulley,  Miami Gardens, Florida, July 2017.)

About Linda Freeman

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Linda Pulley Freeman combines her specialized training in environmental and chemical engineering with her deep ministerial commitment as she serves mission fields at home and abroad.

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