You Can Give a Bee Some Water, But You Can’t Make Her Drink: A Socioscientific Approach to Honey Bees in Science Education

  • Jonathan SnowEmail author
  • Maria S. Rivera Maulucci
Part of the Environmental Discourses in Science Education book series (EDSE, volume 2)


Human fascination with the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), likely since before we evolved from hominid relatives, has become even more important as honey bees increasingly perform pollination services for modern industrial agricultural systems. In this chapter, we advance a socioscientific issues approach for studying honey bees that engages students in arguing from evidence and exploring the ethical dimensions of science in society in ways that may inspire further student involvement in science. We provide some intriguing details about honey bees, including their history, their role in industrial agriculture, and the ways in which current honey bee management may pose risks to our food security. We also explore some of the debates scientists are having regarding honey bees, such as whether or not they are truly domesticated and their status as a non-native or invasive species in some parts of the world. Finally, we describe ways to involve bees in the classroom, ranging from the exploration of excellent texts to actual cultivation of honey bees.


Honeybee pollination agriculture Socioscientific issue argumentation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Barnard CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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