Monday, August 15, 2011

AgBC's: Z is for BuZZZZZ

I love being outdoors and hearing all the sounds during the warm summer months—including the buzz of the insects. Bees certainly aren't the only insects that buzz, but they are certainly the 1st insect that pops to mind when we think of buzzing, aren't they?

Photo from the Honeybee Conservancy

But did you know there are a whole host of bee species in addition to the honeybees and bumblebees we normally think of? There are 4,000 known species of bees native to the United States. Some of their common names include plasterer, leafcutter, mason, carder, digger and carpenter. Others earned their names by lapping up perspiration or humming loudly as they fly. 

Want to know how you can meet science standards for your students by teaching them about bees? Check out this archived video.

Learn how pollinators, particularly bees, can be used to teach standards-based science and get students actively engaged with their work and the outdoors.
This is the second of two Web Seminars in a series from PollinatorLIVE. The presentation includes a definition of pollinators and the tasks they perform as well as information about Bee Hunt—a program that allows educators to access and contribute to a large cache of images of various species of pollinators from across the country. You can also comprehensive curriculum for grades 3-6 that addresses plant pollinator relationships and related concepts and the Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project.

Monday, August 8, 2011

AgBCs: Y is for Yams

Yams aren't just for holiday meals—they are fun for science, too!

Even though most Americans use the terms interchangeably, did you know yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing? In fact they are not even related. Who knew, right?

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.

Want to have some REAL fun with yams? Try out this lab for converting the starch in yams to sugar. Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, August 1, 2011

AgBCs: X Marks the Barn Spot

I have to admit, the X letter of our AgBCs series had me stumped—until I saw a barn door like this:

Photo from Mike Gilliam photography.
Barns are an integral part of any livestock operation, providing protection and shelter for the livestock as well as farm supplies and equipment. Historic barns are not just rural relics, they are important tangible reminders of Ohio's rural heritage. Many barns and other older farm buildings can be rehabilitated to accommodate modern farming practices. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the Ohio State Extension encourage owners to maintain their historic buildings for future generations to use and appreciate. Check out the Barn Again program for more information on restoring historic barns.

Barns provide insight into the history and heritage of our early farmers. And they continue to provide learning opportunities today. Have you heard of Ohio's quilt barns? They offer a fun and scenic way to learn about not only various types of barn architecture but also quilting patterns.

And here in our part of Ohio, barn raisings are also an important part of the Amish community. Maybe your students can take their lead from Crayola and combine a lesson about the Amish culture with this fun barn raising project.

Have fun with learning about the history of barns!
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