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  Bees and Blooms in Boxes
Passion Projects at FIS
FIS gardener, Radu Strugari (left), US Biology teacher, Christopher Neumann (center),
and student Alexander (right), take stock of the bees’ activity
Passion is at the heart of this story, and so are boxes alive with buzzing bees, and boxes overflowing with vibrant blooms of Dahlia, and boxes bursting
with a bounty of pumpkins, tomatoes, fragrant herbs, and potatoes, too.
FIS has heard the voices of students and teachers, followed by their passionate lead, their love for in- novation, and their keen interest to explore and dig deep. In doing so, learning has gone outside of the classroom, pushing the boundaries of curriculum and schedule, to find rich, fertile ground in these boxes. The FIS Bee Hive Project and the Stroth Box Garden are part of the exciting Special, Innovative Passion Projects (SIPPs), taking off at our school this season.
At the beginning of the school year, Dr. Paul Fochtman, Head of School, announced the official launch of SIPPs in an effort to answer a “growing need to de- velop a clear pathway for special projects intended to impact teaching and learning.” The sharing of ideas and initiatives are central to SIPPs and the school has allocated budget resources to make them a reality.
According to Dr. Fochtman, good ideas are welcome from all corners of the school, coming from faculty, staff or students. SIPPs can come in all shapes and sizes, too. The Bee Hive Project, Stroth Center Box Garden, and other initiatives such as the Sports Academy or the purchase of a state-of-the art metal
drill to be used in Design Technology, are each a man-
ifestation of the pursuit of passion at FIS and have a “cascading effect in learning.”
Interconnectedness is abuzz at the outdoor learning space near the pond by the FIS Primary School thanks to an initiative from IB Biology teacher Christopher Neumann, who presented the Bee Hive Project to school. With SIPP funds, two beehives arrived this past June and a library of bee-related resources was established. The project took flight, creating imme- diate impact: cooperation with a local bee institute for logistical planning, including placement of the hives due to flight patterns, sunlight and pollinator plant availability; and coordination for the beehive’s maintenance with Stefan Maass, FIS Hausemeister, who has expanded his own learning and now has the expertise to care for the hives.
As the Bee Hive Project matures, it will continue to be a source of connecting learning across grade lev- els – from Grade 1 students seeding and planting pollinator gardens, to after school classes aimed at raising our own beekeepers and honey producers, to seniors harnessing hands-on research from the hives to write compelling extended essays for their International Baccalaureate degree.
Passion and innovation have a school-wide ripple ef- fect and student agency is also thriving at the box
 12 FIS World October 2019

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