Mr. Shimada’s Bee and Kiwi Farm


On November 11, our pint-sized second grade scientists started a learning journey into plants and pollinators. They began by observing and dissecting a lily flower which, naturally, inspired a flood of curiosity about why flowers need so many different parts. “What could the powdery yellow substance (pollen) on the end of each thin line (stamen) be for?” they asked. “Great question!” we replied.

And so began a deep investigation into pollinators and the critical role they play in food production. Lucky for us we have a local organic farm a mere 600-meter walk from the school’s front gate. The farm’s owner, Shimada-san, is a passionate beekeeper with a wealth of knowledge to share and a gift for making big ideas easy to understand.

Our second graders made the short walk to Shimada-san’s farm where they observed his beehives, watched his bees at work, got a close-up look at honeycomb, tasted the honey made from Shimada-san’s bees and frolicked under the kiwifruit vines, which were laden with ripe kiwifruit and countless cicada shells.

The trip was a wonderfully rewarding learning experience for our second graders as they had a chance to see food being grown, observe what bees do to help the food-growing process and to get first-hand insights into how farms work. If you have a second grader here at ASIJ you will know what a joy the trip was. It has been a full week since they visited the farm and they are still generating questions and discussing their observations. There is a lot of wonderful learning happening in second grade. (Tracey Reed, ES Instructional Technology)