Are we doing enough to protect honey bees? How might this environmental issue impact you? What do you think will happen if there are no more honey bees?
Since 2006, honey bees have been dying at an alarming rate. The event, called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has killed about one third of all honey bees within the US.
We depend on honey bees to pollinate crops that we eat every day—apples, cucumbers, blueberries, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, almonds, strawberries, soybeans, watermelon, and more. The bees’ services are estimated to be worth $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually in the US alone.
Researchers have found links to CCD with certain pesticides called neonicotinoids. Last month, nations within the European Union voted a two-year ban on neonicotinoids to protect honey bees.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency came out with a 72-page report on honey bee health determining that pesticides in combination with other factors—including parasitic mites, low genetic diversity in bees, and poor nutrition—are contributing to CCD. Neither organization recommends banning neonicotinoids as the EU has done, but would like beekeepers and growers to collaborate on best practices with use of pesticides.
The US organizations will update an action plan to include priorities in combating CCD over the next 5-10 years.
Kirsten Lepore is an artist and filmmaker who works with different animation techniques, including stop-motion animation and claymation. Creating personal short films and animated segments for clients such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Whole Foods, and MTV, Lepore is known for her hand-fabricated film sets and characters made from an eclectic mix of materials including clay, food, sand and snow. Her wildly popular food-themed film, Sweet Dreams, stars a butternut squash who shows a cupcake the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The award-winning film is remarkable in its production design, art direction, and wordless storytelling style. We visited Lepore at her Los Angeles studio to learn more about the intentions behind her food-focused film, the unusual materials she works with to create her animations, and why she loves the laborious process of stop-motion animation.
Kirsten Lepore also gave us a hands-on demonstration of her preferred techniques for creating claymation. Lepore's technical set-up is sophisticated, but the animation process is simple and can be recreated using digital cameras and editing programs like iMovie and iStopMotion. Even flipbooks are a form of animation.
As a middle school math teacher, I was constantly looking for ways to incite my students’ interests in math. Unsurprisingly, and without fail, my students were always the most engaged when the lesson felt relevant and meaningful to their life, and when it centered on food. However, I often found that such lessons were incredibly time consuming to create. I always wished that there were vetted resources to refer to that incorporated food into the lesson. Who doesn’t like to eat and learn at the same time?
My wish has been granted. Below is a list of interactive lesson plans and videos from PBS LearningMedia that use cooking, baking, and grocery shopping to teach students mathematical concepts. If you want to make your lesson a little messier and more fun, bring in food for your students to work with and eat at the end of class. These lessons also serve as a great way to introduce students to topics about healthy eating and nutrition. Bon appétit!
Ratio and Proportional Reasoning: Food Labels Lesson Plan and Interactive Materials: Grades 5 – 8 In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch videos, and complete interactive activities to learn how to use fractions to interpret food labels and make healthy eating choices.
Multiplying Fractions by Whole Numbers: RecipesLesson Plan and Interactive Materials: Grades 5 – 8 In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch videos and complete interactive activities involving recipes to learn about fractions, and learn how to perform certain operations with fractions.
Big Sale Interactive Game: Grades 6 – 7 In this interactive activity, students learn how to solve unit rate problems to determine the best deal per ounce of grocery items. Students also learn how to recognize how math concepts, like rate and ratio, can be used in everyday situations.
Cake DesignerVideo: Grades 3 – 9 In this video a cake designer describes how she uses math in her recipes and designs. Students will relate the importance of mathematics to the field of cake designing.
Katie O’Mahoney is an Intern at KQED Education and a student in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. She has also worked as a middle and high school math teacher in the Bay Area.
Michael Pollan has written “The word “sustainability” has gotten such a workout lately that the whole concept is in danger of floating away on a sea of inoffensiveness. Everybody, it seems, is for it whatever it means.”
So what does sustainability mean to you - do you think of solar panels or wind power? Buying food locally? The term is used in relation to environmental management, science, law, consumerism etc. and in so many different contexts, it can be confusing. But essentially sustainability is about sustaining the environment for future generations through forward thinkingstrategies to solve environmental challenges. It involves energy conservation, clean and green energy, technology that protects the environment, green building, and socially responsible organizations and employers.
But if you would like to work in some aspect of sustainability, how do you navigate your way through this confusing field and find your own path. Where would you start?
Siripat Nengchamnong is from Thailand and came to the US in 2005. She studied English at San Jose State University and took a Hospitality Management course at Mission College to prepare her for opening her own restaurant, the White Elephant in Santa Clara. Siripat describes how she enjoys the work because she loves to cook and to eat and to please other people with her cooking. She also loves to meet people from all over the world and compare experiences. But Siripat makes it clear that running a restaurant is very hard work indeed.