This 28 minute DVD about the native UK honey bee is available in both Welsh and English on the same disc. It is aimed at Key Stage 1, although it says it is suitable for all primary school children. The DVD sets out to explain in straightforward language the importance of the honey bee to us all. It can be accompanied by a range of pupil worksheets covering the KS1 curriculum from maths and science, to art, craft, drama and music, and to cooking with honey.
There are 10 sections: (1) Introduction (2) Where do bees live? (3) The bee family, worker bees, queen bee, drone bees (4) The life cycle (5) Jobs of worker bees (6) Bees and flowers (7) The waggle dance (8) Honey extraction (9) The beekeeper (10) Bees are important.
There is much to like in this DVD, and I learned a lot from watching it. In particular, I’m now much better informed about the roles and activities of the different types of honey bee, and how they support and complement each other. The images (both real and animations) are very good, and you can see why it took so long to record them all.
I particularly liked the pictures of the stages of pupation. All this is commendable, and a good reason to have a copy of the DVD in school. I am more equivocal about the spoken text. Whilst it is mostly clear, and the vocabulary is apt: thorax, abdomen, pollination, fertilization, etc., I do not like the use of terms such as ‘girls and boys’ to differentiate the bees; surely female and male are both more accurate and appropriate terms? Rather inevitably, the pathetic fallacy was there as well with references to bees being happy, unhappy, and down in the dumps. I really don’t think this is good enough.
I was also not convinced by the way that the English text was spoken. The words were so ve ry clear and slow ly spo ken and care ful ly e nun ci a ted that it came across (especially in the early sections) as quite stilted. It reminded me why jobbing actors make a living out of voice-overs. The Welsh version seemed better in this respect, although I didn’t understand a word.
The Honey Bee for Primary Education, Kirsty Williams / Gilly Films. The British Bee Company, 2015. DVD, £9.99 + £1.50 p&p The British Bee Company, Ysguthre Isaf, Pontfadog, LL20 7AS (+44) 1691 718 518 [thebritishbeecompany.com/buy-dvd]