Monday, October 27, 2014

The Bee Tree

Since we'd taken significant breaks during the winter months, we kept rowing all through June.  Our Five in a Row book for the first half of the month was The Bee Tree.  This is the story of a girl and her grandfather who go chasing after a bee in the hopes that it will lead them to its hive filled with delicious honey.  They are joined along the way by an assortment of interesting characters.
 We started off this book by looking at a map of Michigan and talking about how it is made of two peninsulas.  T wished he could go on the bridge connecting the two.  I had K do her best at drawing a map of Michigan, which unfortunately proved to be rather traumatic for her as she couldn't get her drawing to look like the rough sketch T had asked me to make for him. 

Both kids enjoyed the onomatopoeia in the book, and we also spent a day on the vocabulary introduced in the manual.  As usual, they picked up on a few words and phrases that seemed to capture their imaginations.  "Eureka!"  they said to each other.  I began to hear them talking about stampedes as the week went on, and  K was intrigued by the names Petra and Dorma.

We spent a day talking about musicians and instruments.  We watched Youtube videos of stringed instrument trios, quartets, quintets and sextets. This is a beautiful piece of music by a Danish string quartet, even though it is  nothing like the music played by the musicians in the book.  I liked watching these men's musician faces.  What is it about learning to play beautiful music really well that makes one's expressions become more complex and intelligent?
And this is a stellar performance of Flight of the Bumblebee!
One day K and T enjoyed working together to make map of story.  T drew pictures with arrows pointing to the events came next, and K labeled everything.
We had a day of learning about bees and honey.  We
~ read several books about bees
~ compared the tastes of standard, store-bought honey with honey made from orange blossoms
~ examined and tasted real honeycomb.  (They loved this.)
~ ate honey sticks
~ observed bees collecting nectar outside.  (Each watched a particular bee for 30 seconds and counted how many flowers it stopped at.)
~ completed lapbook pages from
The book mentions a Klondike Bertha, so one of the activities was to learn about gold.  We looked though some books about the Klondike Gold Rush and made a pan for gold project.  This was something I decided to do on the spur of the moment.  The instructions I had said to paint small rocks gold and use enamel paint to paint a pie tin black after poking small holes in it.  We had no enamel paint and used tempera paint instead, which didn't work at all. The paint completely peeled off after drying, but the kids still enjoyed making the pans and pretending to look for gold.
 We also brainstormed myths and fairy tales that mention gold, talked about winning a gold medal, buried treasure, and looked up Bible verses that mention gold (there's one in the Psalms that also mentions honey in the same verse!). 
This was a sweet book to row, with activities that were fun to do in the summer!

1 comment:

Joelle said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun! I like that they observed a bee getting nectar. Fun idea! Are you close to being done with last years books? We are now on our 3rd book from vol. 4.