The honey bees game: Engaging and inspiring the community with STEM

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Research in Science and Technological Education


Taylor & Francis


School of Education / Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research




Mildenhall, P., Sherriff, B., & Cowie, B. (2019). The honey bees game: Engaging and inspiring the community with STEM. Research in Science & Technological Education, 39(2), 225-244.


STEM education has become a global priority as governments realise that there are important economic benefits if students engage in this interdisciplinary curriculum area. Less prominence has been given to the community benefits that STEM education can bring and even less attention has been given to the potential for children’s learning of STEM to increase adults’ understanding of environmental issues.Purpose: This study examined how an interdisciplinary STEM education unit of work was implemented in a primary school to educate children’s families and the school community about a little known but significant issue: the plight of honey bees.Sample: The paper reports on two primary school teachers and their classes who were engaging in a STEM unit of work. The children were aged nine and ten years old and the school was in a metropolitan location. The unit of work being taught focussed on creating an education game to highlight the importance of honey bees.Design and methods: Using a case study design multiple sources of data were collected including video, semi structured interviews, and work samples over the course of eight lessons. The data analysis involved an iterative model of video analysis integrated with analysis of student games and community interviews. Results: The multiple sources of data suggested that the extended learning module was able to support the development of student understanding of the plight of honey bees and that children were able to transform their learning into board games that enabled the children to inform and inspire the local community. Conclusion: These findings offer insights into how children can transform their learning into a resource and then can use this resource to educate a school community about a complex and significant environmental issue.



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