Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Bee Tree

Most recently, we "rowed" The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco.  We just love her and enjoy everything she has written, so we were excited about doing another study on one of her books!  Amazon's synopsis of it reads, "When Mary Ellen gets bored with her reading, Grandpa knows a hunt for a bee tree is just what she needs.  Half the town joins the exciting chase, but it's not until everyone returns home that Mary Ellen makes a discovery of her own.  Sometimes, even the sweetest of things must be worked for,"  It was another cute read by Polacco with her classic, detailed illustrations.  
After we read the book, we placed our story disk on Michigan, the setting for The Bee Tree.
After we talked more about the setting and the different scenarios in the book, we went to God's Book to read how His words are sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103)!
It's Winter, so bee hives are hard to find right now, but there is always one at our local environmental learning center.  We headed there to see some real bees up close.
 They were busy behind that glass!  We never did spot the queen.
 Real honeycomb! 
 A smoker!
 Once home, we set out to make similar snacks to the ones that Mary Ellen and Grandpa made and enjoyed with their neighbors in the book: Baking Powder Biscuits, Orange Honey Butter, and Mint Iced Tea.  (All of these recipes we found in The Five in a Row Cookbook by Becky Jane Lambert.)  Here, Maggie is working on the Orange Honey Butter.  For the same, we combined 1/4 cup honey ...
 ... to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon ...
 ... and 1 teaspoon of grated orange peel.  Our last ingredient was 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature.  We combined these four and mixed well.
It turned out AMAZING!  I will make this again and again.
 Here, Maggie is working on our Baking Powder Biscuits.
 Ready for the oven!
 She's ready for her snack, complete with Mint Iced Tea, which paired perfectly with the Orange Honey Butter!
 Thumbs up!
 For the language arts study of this book, we completed the copy work found at http://www.homeschoolshare.com/bee_tree_printables.php ...
 ... as well as the onomatopoeia worksheets from that same site.
We again used http://www.homeschoolshare.com/bee_tree_printables.php for the mathematics study of this book, exploring hexagons.
Once we had discussed hexagons at length, we explored tessellations, using this great math game at  http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/cant-wait-tessellate/.  
 When she was done playing on the computer, we set out to make a tessellations painting using a     hexagon cut out of a potato, paints, a paintbrush, and thick paper.  (We got this idea from http://www.delightfullearning.net/search/label/The%20Bee%20Tree.)
Tessellations with hexagons!
To finish our math study, we completed "The Bee Tree Story Problems," also from http://www.homeschoolshare.com/bee_tree_printables.php.
Next, we did some reading on honeybees.  We read The Amazing Honeybee by Susan Ring ...
... and The Magic School Bus: Inside a Bee Hive by Joanna Cole.
Here is the YouTube video that we watched from this same book.  (Maggie loves these videos!)
After that, we read The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Show Me the Honey! by Tish Rabe ...
... Honey: A Gift from Nature by Yumiko Fujiwara ...
 ... and The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci.
 After our reading, we lit this beeswax candle we bought ...
 ... and decided it was time to break into our own honeycomb, dripping with honey!
 Once we cracked open the lid on our honeycomb, Maggie started investigating its hexagonal cells.
 (We even thought it'd be fun to pose our plastic bee.)
 Here, Maggie is tasting the honeycomb.
 After our investigation, Mags had fun with this Dover Bee Cool! Sticker Activity Book.  (We love Dover books!)
 Once that was done, I gave her some scrapbook paper with the same hexagonal tessellations that we had been studying.  Then, I gave her a pencil and told her to draw in some eggs and larvae into the cells.
When she had drawn some in, she glued pieces of Honey-Comb cereal onto the paper to make the picture more interesting.
 (She was sure to tessellate them!)
 Finally, we added bee stickers.
 It looked great when she was done with it!
For our last project, we decided to open our Eye Can Art's Layered Wax Drawing Kit, which uses real beeswax to help you make encaustic art.  (I bought this last year when the site for Cricket magazines had an after-Christmas sale.)
A long time ago, the Greek and Egyptian people discovered that they could mix colors with melted wax from bees and make a paint that was beautiful and would last a long time.  They painted it on wood, and they called it "encaustic," which means "to burn into."  With this kit, we were able to create our own encaustic picture by melting beeswax over a drawing that we made inside a wooden frame.  Here, Mags is checking out the beeswax sheets from the kit.
We placed a sheet over her drawing in the frame.  (The drawing was made with oil pastels.)
 Once melted, Maggie drew on top of the wax to add depth to her art.
 Maggie's first encaustic art, using beeswax!
Thanks for checking in with us!