Pennsbury School District
At Edgewood Elementary School (Pennsbury School District)
the third grade teachers have turned the challenge of
teaching in trailers into a definite plus. They've obviously
worked hard to foster the strong feelings of community,
teamwork, and ownership that prevail. Our student guides
showed off their clustered classrooms and their connecting
"boardwalk" with evident pride.
During the `99-'00 school year, Kay Buffaloe and Toni Newman
pioneered the use of STC's Plant Growth and Development kit.
With this experience behind them (also see Kay's journal entry for a great
tip about materials management) they delivered workshops to
train other school district teachers, and this year (`00-
'01) all five third grade teachers at Edgewood are using the
kit. Our visit to Kay's class was especially powerful in
connection with our visit to Toni
Newman's class whose plants are one day further along on
(Unlike our other school visit
journals, this one shows student faces, as Kay
received written parental permission prior to our
Students entering the room each checked their own
plants under the grow lights but heeded instructions
not to touch, explaining that their plants were
fragile now while undergoing "more changes." They
eagerly discussed what had happened so far, pointing
out that after pollination by the bees "the flowers
fell off" (they pointed out the evidence all over the
table) and "the leaves and stems stopped growing"
because the plant was "doing something else now."
Several students described "green pockets,"
"sacklets," and protrusions that looked "like
stringbeans" that were growing "bigger from
yesterday." One student commented: "like the show,
`Survivor,' the plants [had] made it to Day 22!"
Entering some of these insights in their journals
Since the plants had to be left alone to develop
their seeds, this day's activity was to build on what
students had already learned about bees by building
models of the insects.
First, a rousing chorus of an obviously-well-known
(to them) song "Head, Thorax, Ab-do-men" (to the tune
of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes") helped to
reinforce familiar terms.
Then, sitting in their reading circle, the class read
parts of a book about bees. Students are excited to
share information they've already gleaned in past
explorations, through observations and using bees to
pollinate their plants. They chime in with great
ideas and are fascinated by new concepts such as
compound eyes, honeycombs, and social structure. The
word "proboscis" becomes a favorite for many because
it's so much fun to say!
This year Kay and Toni are drawing on their prior
experience with the kit (and a lot of creativity) to
improve on the way bee models are approached.
Instead of flat stick puppets, each student will make
his/her own new-and-improved anatomically-correct 3-D
model! [We will try to convince Kay and Toni to
share their plan for this wonderful model in a
website tip some time soon.]
In cooperation with the art teacher, the children
have already painted egg-cartons yellow. The
excitement is palpable as they anticipate
distribution of the rest of the materials (pipe
cleaners, construction paper, sheet plastic, and a
Careful construction begins. First, three pairs of
And then the abdomen
Kay circulates around the classroom helping with
assembly when needed and reminding her students of
similarities between these models and real bees.
Unfortunately, compound eyes are not easily
reproduced with a marker, but this student creates a
This student carefully traces the wing patterns to
create a pair of forewings and hindwings for the bee
Students had a wonderful time creating simulated
pollen by vigorously rubbing yellow chalk on paper,
then dredging cotton ball "pollen baskets" through
the dust to "fill them up."
Which legs are the pollen baskets on? Francesca
forgot, but since Kay was busy elsewhere, she used
her own initiative to consult the book they
had just read to answer her own question.
A finished bee, complete with all of its anatomical
After students completed their bees, they flew them
over to the bulletin board already hung with flower
models from a previous lesson and a "hive" of
hexagonal honeycomb cutouts (creatively decorated
with Honeycomb cereal).
After all of the bees are completed, Kay gathers the
class together for a wrap-up discussion of what they
discovered about bees today.
Again, we'd like to thank Kay and her wonderful
students for inviting us to be part of such a lively
and engaging session. We can't wait to see what Kay,
Toni, and their student scientists do with Chemical
Tests and Rocks and Minerals!