Best Messenger Ever – Oh! The brainpower that sent space probe Messenger on its successful-beyond-all-measures mission to planet Mercury! My son and I learned that Messenger was launched from earth in 2004 and started orbiting Mercury in 2011. The plan: Messenger was to orbit for a year and send back 2,500 images. But the space probe was so well built, that it circled the tiny planet for 4 years and sent back 270,000 images! WHOA. On April 30, dear Messenger ran out of propellant, was pulled out of orbit by Mercury’s gravity, and sent one final photo before it crashed into the planet.
Messenger’s final image of Mercury
We paid homage to the team that constructed Messenger by listening to Gustav Holst’s “Mercury” from his orchestral work, “The Planets”.
More academics from last week –
- Napoleon – as we learn more about Napoleon we are struck by how his brilliant ideas were dwarfed by his all-around awfulness. This man belonged permanently in time-out, and of course, that is exactly where he ended up (we found the little island of St. Helena, where Napoleon was exiled for the final six years of his life, on the globe). Vocab from our Napoleon unit: artillery, boycott, emperor, strategy, and trench. BTW, our book, “A Wicked History – Napoleon, Emperor and Conqueror”, by Kimberley Heuston, is EXCELLENT.
- Shakespeare – we finished “Romeo and Juliet”, and we have started “Twelfth Night”. Love it! We do prefer the mixed-up craziness of Shakespeare’s comedies to his gruesome tragedies.
- Exponents – we gave the Mathtoon’s “Exponents and Radicals” iPad app another try. Much more fun this time. This app is splendid! Cool, in-your-face, badboy graphics. And the app is free!
Last week’s best Farmer Brown story problem – Farmer Brown has a muster (or ostentation, if you will) of peafowl on his property. Vocab time: we had to learn the difference between peafowl, peacocks, peahens, and peachicks. Seriously, what is cuter than the word, “peachick”?
OK, the story problem: Farmer Brown has a large muster of peafowl on his property. He collects the peacock’s discarded long tail feathers to sell to a local interior designer, for $3.50 each. If the designer paid Farmer Brown $140 last month, how many feathers were handed over? If the designer sells each feather for $15, and all feathers are sold, what is the profit, once Farmer Brown has been paid?
Last night’s music theme: “Music for a Dental Procedure” – my son and I take meticulous (vast overstatement) care of his teeth (so far no cavities, so that is something), but we thought soothing music could bring such relief if Novocain loomed. Here is what we selected:
- Beethoven’s 6th Symphony “The Pastoral” (1808), movement 1. Any of the movements would work, and may we suggest the entire 5-movement symphony (about 45 minutes) for lengthy oral surgery. Such life affirming music.
- Jacques Offenbach’s “Barcarolle”, from his “Tales of Hoffman” (1881). All you have to do is lie back and imagine yourself floating in a gondola around the Venetian waterways. Soothing to the extreme.
- “The Moldau” by Bedrich Smetana, (1875) from his larger orchestral work, “Ma Vlast”. Relax and let the dentist do the work as you follow the Moldau (a river in Smetana’s native Bohemia, now the Czech Republic) from its source past woods, meadows, a farmer’s wedding, and ending as the Moldau flows into the Elbe River. Piece lasts about 12 minutes. Fantastic ending. This is a superb video, filmed in Smetana Hall in Prague.
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH