As much as I appreciate the vital role bees play in our ecosystem I still can't bring myself to add a few hives to my backyard. Today however I stumbled upon a website encouraging people to plant native plants in their yard or garden to encourage natural bee populations, and then join them in collecting and reporting data about the bees that they see. This, is much easier than donning a netted mask and figuring out how to keep boxes of bees away from my toddler.
The Great Sunflower Project, http://www.greatsunflower.org/, seems like a unique authentic learning experience for a classroom project. Students would first need to research native plants to the area, would have a wonderful time actually planting them and maintaining the garden on part of the school grounds, and then could collect data (math, science, social studies...any subject!) This would even be a great school-wide project!