WPI to take bee work to high schools

John Minchillo/Associated Press/File

Metro Minute recently highlighted the work being done at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on the decline of certain bee species and its ripple effect on the environment.

Now, thanks to a recent $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a team from the institute will have a chance to expand their research into high schools. They will help biology and computer science teachers create and deliver curriculums “to meet next generation biology and computer science standards, while also addressing a real-world problem: pollinator decline,’’ WPI said.

“It is critical in this information age for high school STEM teachers to integrate computational thinking and approaches into their teaching,’’ said Elizabeth Ryder, associate professor of biology and biotechnology at WPI, who is principal investigator of the team.


On the pollinator front, assistant professor and bee expert Robert Gegear is helping document the relationship between specific bees and flowers. WPI researchers are seeking to compile a database that would allow them to compare current information with data from earlier times to plot how populations have changed.