Violin

Bee Plus!

bees

Let’s pretend that you need to brush up on your knowledge of bees. May we suggest, “The Life and Times of the Honeybee” by Charles Micucci?  This sort of looks like a little kids book, but every single page intrigues with surprising information – my son and I were amazed to learn that a colony of 10,000 to 60,000 bees includes only 100 male bees (the drones)…Those worker bees flitting about in gardens? The bees that sting you? The bees that make the honey?  ALL female.  So my son and I worked the ratios – if there are 100 males and 10,000 in the colony, the ratio of male to female is 1:100.  If there are 100 males and 60,000 in the colony, the ratio is 1:600. (This ratio reminded me of the Jan and Dean hit of 1963, “Surf City” – which starts out “Two Girls for Every Boy” – so I forced my son to view a video of Jan and Dean on The Steve Allen Show. I don’t think I can get him to watch this again.)

But back to “The Life and Times of the Honeybee” – we give this bee book an A!

microscope book

Blood, blood, and more blood (gross overstatement) – Just last night we were reading through “The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope”, learning the difference between optical (vocab) and electron (vocab) microscopes.  Well!  This morning at a doctor’s appointment, we saw a sample of my son’s blood through the mechanism of an electron microscope!  Perfect timing!  The computer screen view was fascinating – from a pinprick of of blood on the glass slide, the jillions of red blood cells were so easy to see.  Fabulous technology.

The Hand Thump of Appreciation – Sometimes when I read to my son and I think he is dozing off, I consider stopping for the night – and then the HAND THUMP OF APPRECIATION happens. Just as I am about to shut the book, my son’s hand comes crashing down on the page of the book, inferring VEHEMENTLY, “this is cool. KEEP READING”.  This happened last night – we were reading the multi-award winning “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein (a group of 12 lucky kids win the opportunity to spend the night in eccentric Mr. Lemoncello’s brand new city library).  Apparently my son is really enjoying the book!  YES.  Happy day.

bee-keeper-with-smoker

Story Problem Alert! Farmer Brown raises bees!  Of course he does.  This past week Farmer Brown purchased new beekeeper outfits for two of his ranch hands.  A complete suit costs $109.  One of the ranch workers needs the 4XL size, which runs and additional $25.  Farmer Brown decided to buy an additional veiled helmet for just in case. The helmet costs $24 and the veil $20. How much will Farmer Brown spend on the new protective wear? (We are not adding in tax or shipping.) (Answer A at bottom of post).  If Farmer Brown sells a pint of honey for $5, how many pint jars will he need to sell to pay for the new beekeeper outfits? (Answer B at bottom of post)

bee on daisy

A soundtrack for worker bees – Our picks:

  • Moto Perpetuo” composed by violin virtuoso, Niccolo Paganini, in 1835.  This is an exhausting piece to play and reminds us of the field bee’s exhausting day – about 10 journeys a day to collect nectar and pollen, with each trip lasting about an hour.

  • The Pizzicato”, from Leo Delibes’ ballet “Sylvia” (1876).  We learned that the bee’s most important contribution is not the honey, but the service of pollination.  We can easily envision a bee delicately darting from flower to flower, pollinating away to the rhythm of this piece.

  • And of course, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”, written for his opera “Tsar Saltan” in 1899.  Well, this is perhaps too obvious a choice, but it is a tiny jewel of a masterpiece, and it belongs here.  We like this performance by the London Cello Orchestra, boasting the largest number of cellos that we have ever seen together.

Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
A.  $287
B.  58 jars

Brainiac!

chipotle cup

The Cup O’ Knowledge – Thank you Chipotle!  We love your “Cultivating Thought” author series (short essays on all sorts of interesting stuff printed up on the side of the Chipotle cups)!  This week, my son and I spent the necessary two minutes reading from the latest Chipotle cup about Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Just so A+.  This motivated us to read through “On a Beam of Light” (also about Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity) by Jennifer Berne/illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky (just enough information for us non-physicist types, supported by dear, wispy illustrations that capture Einstein perfectly).

Alexander the Great – we finished our short study of Alexander the Great and came away with a few more vocab words: monsoon and mutiny.  MONSOON!  Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.  MUTINY!  We thought about how a leader (like Alexander) could probably forget about being remembered as “beloved” if his soldiers felt compelled to stage a mutiny.

white rose

Farmer Brown Question – (here’s an abrupt change of mood):  Farmer Brown is in the white rose business! He sells LOTS of white roses for DIY wedding bouquets.  A nice bouquet uses a dozen roses, and Farmer Brown sells a “bouquet package” – the roses AND a “How to Fashion the Bridal Bouquet of your Dreams!” DVD for $40.   If he took in $240 this past month, how many weddings were enhanced with Farmer Brown’s roses?  Farmer Brown ALSO makes a “boutonniere package” for $10. If half of the “bouquet package” purchasers also bought a “boutonniere package”, how much more did Farmer Brown make on his white rose endeavor last month?

einstein violin

Music Focus – Einstein and his violin!  Back to Albert Einstein – we learned that Einstein played the violin with great skill, he said that helped him think better, and declared, “The most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.”   We learned that he preferred the compositions of Mozart, considering the violin serenades superior to the violin concertos.  We want to like what Einstein liked, so we listened to:

  • “Mozart’s Violin Serenade No. 6”, the “Serenade Notturna”, movement 4 (the rondo), composed in 1776.  Only about 3 minutes in length.

  • “Mozart’s Violin Serenade No. 13”, the super famous “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, movement 4 (the rondo – again!), composed in 1787.  About 4 minutes in length.

  • Finally! Look what we found! “Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 26, in B-flat major” (composed in 1779), with an actual audio recording of Albert Einstein playing the violin!  My son really enjoyed the privilege of listening to this music, and viewing the accompanying photographs.

Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH