Ka-Boom!

dynamite2

A new study unit:  The Nobel Prize. Intriguing even before we begin.  Here is what we’ve learned so far:  Alfred Nobel was a gifted scientist and brilliant businessman;  though his vast fortune was based upon his invention of dynamite (ka-boom!), he was also the holder of 354 other patents. We have learned that Nobel Prize recipients are not called “Winners”, because they are not in a contest. The recipients are called “Laureates” (the word springing from the ancient Greek’s laurel wreath of honor). Perfection on so many levels.

New words to become acquainted with: “Patent” (from the Nobel Prize unit) and “Scurvy” (from our explorers unit).   Find me a student who isn’t curious about scurvy.  Seriously, we were all over the gruesome Google images so fast.

Farmer Brown Story Problem: Crop failure! Farmer Brown has 4 acres devoted to growing eggplant. It costs Farmer Brown $300 per acre to plant and water, and $200 per acre to harvest. How much money will Farmer Brown lose if shopkeepers won’t buy because nobody wants to eat eggplant ever again? (Heh, heh, eggplant makes me gag. This goes way back to a harrowing childhood experience, when a certain mother tried to pass off  “Mrs. Paul’s Fried Eggplant Sticks” as french fries.)

eggplant

A fourth of the fifth:  Classical Music – what about the longer pieces? A few posts back, I mentioned that we broke into classical music by listening shorter compositions. When we felt ready to listen to larger works, here is what we did (not that it takes a high IQ to figure this one out) – taking Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for example: we listened to one movement a night (Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is comprised of 4 movements,  thus it took us 4 nights to hear the entire symphony).

The whole darn fifth: There is a reason Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor is so well known. It is stunning. Pop quiz: how long do you think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony lasts?  One hour?  Two hours?  Is this the reason you haven’t sat yourself down and had a listen? Well, awesome news everybody!  It lasts only half an hour!  Find a speedy conductor and the whole thing can be enjoyed in 28 minutes. Let’s do the math:

  • Movement 1 – around 7 minutes (the classic, “fate knocking on the door”)
  • Movement 2 – around 8 minutes (the heartbreaker)
  • Movement 3 – around 5 minutes (the A++++ movement – alternately furtive and then fearless)
  • Movement 4 – around 8 minutes (the grand triumph)

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH

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