Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Aorere Bees on Curious Minds!

Check out this article where our project featured on Curious Minds: How do we revive our beehives?

Thanks for stopping by if you found us there!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Tangaroa Bee Trip

For our science trip Nadia, Noah, Jordyn, Kororia, Tuhua, Te Anau and I went to Tangaroa College as part of our science project to observe and learn more information on bees and how the beehives work. Kororia was the photographer and took some photo’s of the activities in the process. Before the activities took place, we ate some sandwiches, fruit, cake and some juice for afternoon tea. We then headed into the classroom and the teachers briefed us and took us through the schedule of what we were going to do for the day. Sarah (one of the teachers) gave us some interesting information about the bees and showed us what the beeswax looks like and described to us what it is used for. After that, Nick (another one of the teachers) took us through the lip balm activity and told us what to do and how to make kawakawa lip balm. So we got stuck into it and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The lip balms at the end of the activity looked amazing and smelt really nice.  
Getting ready to make lip balms
In action!
Our next activity was getting an introduction to data analysis. We measured the temperature of different beakers of water, and then calculated the average. When we mixed all the water together, we found that the final temperature of the mix was the same as the calculated average! There was also a neat trick and the water turned pink with indicator.

The next activity involved looking at the data gathered from the sensor inside the hive. The sensor is a yellow board that uses 5 chips that gathers data from inside the hive by measuring the temperature of the hive in five spots. The graphs above show the level of activity going on inside the hive, it tells us the temperature, tells us if the hive is strong or weak and it shows us that the bees inside are doing a nice job of maintaining the temperature on the cold days. The more stable the temperature, the better the hive is doing - our one is looking good!

Julian with the hive sensor
Data from our hive - it stayed nice and steady on the cold days last week, a good sign
It will be interesting to see what happens to the graph when our bees start to collect honey over the spring and summer!

~ Jesse

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Beeing the Difference

As 9KV continue to make great progress on our Bee The Difference project, we've just hit a major goal. We've sent out 30 packets of wildflower seeds and a letter explaining our projects to classes and people all over Aotearoa - from Kaitaia to Queenstown! We hope that the classes receiving them enjoy it, and we hope to hear back about how they got on with planting them! Please send us back postcards, comment on this or send emails through to our teacher at if you get the chance :)
Decorating the seed envelopes
Weighing out and packing the seeds
This was a real team effort - we decorated the seed envelopes with Ebony (thanks to Miss Read for supplying the tools!) , others wrote the letter (Tuhua, Wiremu and Rodney), helped design the logo (Aaron and Tipene), addressed all of the envelopes (Katerina), found new schools and helped map out where the seeds were going (Nadia), and packed the seeds (Kororia, Bella, Ebony and Katerina). One challenge we faced was making sure the seeds were sealed in the envelopes properly as some of the seeds are very small! Fingers crossed they get to where they're going ok.

The letters and seed envelopes getting ready to go
Our goal with this part of the project is to share how important bees are and to help make it easy for other people to get involved. Raising awareness is the goal. We'll also be planting some here at school to grow food for our own hives.

Our draft map - not including those going within Tāmaki Makaurau!
~Dhani and Richarn

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Growing strawberry plants from cuttings

Today Tuhua, Trey and I planted strawberries in pots. The purpose of planting the strawberries was to learn how bees can help in plant growth and help us to learn how to grow our own food for future references so this project was not only for the life of bees but for our own purpose as well.
Tuhua and Trey finishing up
The plants were stored in a bucket of water from Trey’s Granddad. We put them into pots that had the soil filled to the rim, after that The strawberries needed 200ml of water each to stay healthy and hydrated. While putting the soil into the the pot we had to be careful and look for any white flies (bugs) and keep them off the strawberries to make sure our plants can stay healthy. During this process we had to be gentle with the roots to make sure they weren’t ripped or else it would put a halt to its growth life. The process was only 20 minutes to finish planting the strawberries. There were 10 pots used and 10 strawberries planted. We sprayed the plants with organic bug spray to kill the white flies.
White flies are just visible in this photo
So far only five are expected to grow big and healthy but if we get more than five it is expected to be a success. We just need to keep an eye on them for watering and make sure they get some sun.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

An arduino soil moisture sensor

Our project has been to use an arduino and soil moisture sensor to hopefully control a watering system for our garden in the future.

An arduino redboard
A soil moisture sensor
So far, we have figured out how to get our chromebooks to talk to the redboard and used codebender to find the right code to program the sparkfun redboard so that we can use the soil moisture sensor, and we looked at new codes to improve the work. We noticed that when we put the soil moisture sensor in the water it showed up with a number in the 800’s meaning that the higher the number the more moisture there is, but when you grab a plant with soil inside the it has a higher number (in the 900’s). Once you take out the soil moisture sensor then it drops down to 0. In the moistened soil area (it is in the 900’s) and the dry soil the numbers drop to (around the 860’s). We still need to figure this calibration out!
Figuring it out
Our next steps are to find out what the problem with the numbers is, try to hook up a temperature sensor, and see if we can control a hose.

~Te Anau, Harlem, Noah and Jordyn

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Developing beeswax lip balm!

Our challenge has been to try to make a lip balm using bees wax. We first researched recipes and methods, then came up with a plan that we wanted to try first. Our recipe so far has bees wax, coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E. We are starting with lemon flavor, but think we can try to make others in the future. 

The process involves carefully weighing the ingredients, melting them carefully in a double boiler and then waiting for it to cool to add the lemon oil. Then we pour it into a small container to set.
Batch 1 - not perfect yet!
For the next batch we’re going to use the same recipe but add less coconut oil. The first batch was a bit too glossy and soft for our liking. For the beeswax we’re going to chop it up into smaller pieces and melt it first so it can melt faster - yesterday’s batch took up a whole period!

~ Kleeshay & Sharayah