Study Break

Such an unfun set-up:  first the studies, then the study break.

The Greenland Focus – My son and I have proclaimed 2023 as the year we are going to learn about Greenland (the one large land mass we hadn’t “visited” during 2022).  We started with the Wikipedia entry (Greenland: largest island in the world, part of the Kingdom of Denmark, 70% of its energy comes from water power (renewable).  YAY!),  and then read, “Escape Greenland” by Ellen Prager.  This is not our usual type of fiction reading (it is a bit on the high tension/good guys vs. bad guys side)(we are more on the low tension-looking to be enchanted side).  Nonetheless, it successfully brought the location, terrain and climate of Greenland to our attention.

“Icebergs & Glaciers” by Seymour Simon.  A good accompaniment to “Escape Greenland”.  We needed to see photographs of glaciers and icebergs.  We needed grasp their definitions.  (This is hardly the end of our Greenland focus.)

Next Stop, Australia, via “The Great Barrier Reef” by Helen Scales and Lisk Feng.  You can now ask us about:

  • coral bleaching, John “Charlie” Vernon (Godfather of Coral), and the wicked, wicked Crown-of-Thorns Starfish  
  • the future of Green Sea Turtles (this is a species, not a description).  The facts: 
        • the temperature in the nest of baby sea turtle eggs determines the sex of the turtle.  WHAT???? My son and I took a few moments to puzzle over this.  
        • if the nest temperature is lower than 81 degrees, the turtles will be males.  If the temp is above 87 degrees, the turtles will be female.  In-between temps produce a mix.
        • at present, only 1% of green turtles hatching in the Great Barrier Reef are male.    My son and I discussed whether this is optimal.  

  • we read a bit about the world-famous whale, Migaloo (an albino humpback whale), who makes an annual appearance in the reef area (actually, scientists think Migaloo might have perished in the recent past)(RIP Migaloo).  We wanted to know more about Migaloo, so we read “Migaloo, The White Whale”, by Mark Wilson, which provoked us to take a listen to recorded humpback whale sounds. V soothing –


Bugs leading the way – how did scientists come up with the idea for:


  • the changing color (green to gold) of the “10” on the 10 dollar bill?  The Blue Morpho Butterfly
  • efficient use of electricity in light bulbs?  Fireflies
  • better solar panels?  The Isabella Tiger Moth
  • more comfortable medical needles?  Mosquitos (whoa: something nice about mosquitoes)

How do we know all this stuff?  “FANDEX Kids “Bugs”.  Anyone following our strict regimen, focusing upon 2 bugs a night would also know:

  • that the queen of some species of termites can live up to 50 years.  Yeeks.
  • the oldest known spider in the world was a female trapdoor spider.  She lived for 43 years!  We can only assume she was studied in a science lab, because she was heartlessly named, “Number 16”.

Yes, we are still on the bird thing we are half way through “What It’s Like to Be a Bird”, written/stunningly illustrated by David Allen Sibley.  We thank Ann P. (influential master teacher who mentored me through my student teaching days decades and decades ago) for suggesting this elegant book.  So far, our favorite 2-page spread:  Wild Turkeys 

  • turkeys were domesticated in Mexico over 2,000 years ago
  • in the 1500’s, they were brought from Mexico to Spain with returning explorers (conquistadors most likely, who are on our permanent bad list)
  • within 20 years, turkeys were the rage throughout Europe (the Pilgrims even brought them back to the Americas onboard the Mayflower)  
  • and TA-DA!!!  Somehow, some Europeans did not get the memo that these birds were from Mexico; it was widely believed they originated from the middle east, specifically, TURKEY.  Thus the name!  File this away for a Thanksgiving Day conversation starter.  We loved this entire segment and read it aloud 3 times.  Thank you again, Ann P.!

And BTW, we now have Sibley’s “Birds of Texas” poster up on the wall.  Very cool.

FINALLY, the study break!  Snack Time Story Problem   The local diner has purchased a popcorn cart with the intention of renting it out for birthday parties and local youth sporting events.  The festive cart was purchased for $300 and will be available for rental at $75 per day.  The diner can supply popcorn and popcorn bags (200 portions for $50).  For fancy affairs, clients may wish to hire Chef Iris to serve up the popcorn at an additional cost of $100 per day.

– How many times will the popcorn cart need to be rented to recover the $300? 
A.  4 rentals     B. 14 rentals     C.  24 rentals  D.  1,000 rentals 

– How much will a client spend if they require the cart for two days, 600 popcorn servings, and Chef Iris to tend cart?
A.  $300     B.  $400     C.  $500     D.  $1,000  (answers at bottom of post)

Classical Music Time – let us suppose that the popcorn cart client would love some carefree, cheerful background music.  Maybe Chef Iris would suggest –

  • Leroy Anderson’s very first work, “Jazz Pizzicato”, 1938.  We can almost hear the popcorn popping –

  • Beethoven’s “Five Pieces for a Mechanical Clock”, Number 3, composed around 1799.  Sweet carnival-type music that could provoke twirling around the closest popcorn cart.  (from what I’ve read, I’m thinking this may have appalled Beethoven)  –  

  • Shostakovich, “Ballet Suite No. 4”, movement 2  (“The Song of Great Rivers”), composed in 1953.  Fresh, lighthearted, an almost merry-go-round feel.  Signature popcorn cart music –

Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(story problem answers:  A. 4 rentals, and C. $500)


  1. I think it’s been awhile since your last post. Missed it. Last weekend I got to be the Popcorn chef for a kids basketball tournament. We gave away about 500 bags. Sure smelled good!!! That was the best part of my day😜

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s