Tag Archives: Science

For Your Bookshelf: Bees!

Since there’s an extra week in here with September ending and October beginning I thought I’d thrown in a bonus post that goes back to the For Your Bookshelf theme. Today it’s all about books about bees as our hive gets itself ready to turn inward for the winter. For Your Bookshelf Banner

The Honeybee Man by Leyla Nargi and Kyrsten Brooker

This is a fabulous book about a man who keeps beehives on the roof of his apartment building. The story takes you through his summer as a beekeeper and provides some insight into what’s involved with keeping bees. The best part is the ending where he shares the honey he has harvested with his neighbors creating a community around the bees. 

The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre

A factual book for those kids who like nonfiction. The Bumblebee Queen focuses not on honeybees, but on bumblebees and their life cycle. It’s still told in a story-like format following the queen as she emerges in the spring, makes a hive, produces workers and princesses and then dies in the late fall. The text is simple, but complete and features asides and tidbits on many of the pages for when your child wants more information.

Bee BooksBeekeepers by Linda Oatman High

A pitch perfect book about a grandfather and granddaughter who tend their hives together. The story is told in free verse that makes the story digestible even for very young audiences. Again, you get some insight into beekeeping and the tasks that are involved. The illustrations are also lovely and evocative and I think they match the language very beautifully. 

 

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

Mary Ellen is struggling with reading and when she gives up from fatigue and frustration her grandfather takes her on a bee tree hunt. They catch a couple bees in a jar and slowly release then follow them back to their hive. Along the way they pick up a bunch of neighbors who see them chasing after the bees. This is a story as much about community as about bees and it uses the honey as a metaphor for the sweetness of knowledge as Mary Ellen’s grandfather explains at the very end when he encourages her not to give up on reading. 

The BeeThe Bee (First Discoveries)

Cam loves these books. We have a ton of them. They feature these clear pages with pictures printed on them that you can flip over to give you another perspective on the illustration, often a peek inside something. In The Bee you get to see a swarm move, see inside the hive, and a few other things. The text features larger more prominent information that pairs with the picture and usually there is smaller text that you can skip or read depending on the mood of your audience. This is a great book for information about bees themselves and their behavior. 

The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

I am a huge fan of Gail Gibbons. She writes very matter-of-fact factual books for kids that answer all those burning questions they have about the world. The Honey Makers is a fabulous selection from her backlist. As the title indicates it is about honey bees and is filled with all kinds of information from the life cycle to how they make honey. The illustrations in it are good, although not especially detailed which is typical of her style. The sheer amount of information here makes this book best for breaking up or reading selections from. Don’t be afraid to read the information and paraphrase it for younger children using the pictures for support. 

Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett

All I want to say about this one is that it’s a funny story where a bee plays a vital role. :) As with all Jan Brett books the illustrations are incredible and the frames around the main pictures feature a side story.  

 

Autumn Nature Table

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Lately I have been trying to get through some of the parenting books that have been sitting in my To Be Read pile and I recently added several that will help me revisit the Waldorf approach. While I will write a much more in-depth post about that soon, I wanted to share something that we already do that is actually very much in the Waldorf vein.

Cam and I have been collecting little feathers, pinecones, and other bits of nature which I have her set out on a top shelf with a magnifying glass. Up until recently I have been calling it her nature museum, but with all the beautiful acorns and leaves we’ve found this Fall, I decided to call it a nature table. I also added a couple of our favorite Halloween decorations (the vintage owl lantern, for one) and a little Autumn gnome I made from some felt scrap to go with the gnome house. I also needle felted a couple pumpkins since we can’t quite fit a real one.

Cam has really enjoyed adding to the table, playing with all the little bits and pieces, and collecting treasures when we’ve been out. Something I’m discovering about Waldorf that I really love is how in tune with nature and the seasons it is and I think this nature table really brings that inside to remind us. I would like to continue this tradition and have it adapt with the seasons.

Science Exploration

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Science is one of those topics that gets short shrift despite how ubiquitous it is. It permeates nearly everything from the muffins baked for breakfast to the stomach digesting them. From the materials our clothes are made of to the mechanics of us putting them on. The prevalence of science makes it one of the easiest topics to allow our children to explore and being that they are naturally curious about discovering how the world works it’s a great combination.

While Montessori encourages allowing the child to discover what it is they wish to study I feel like it would be the rare child that would explicitly ask for a book on magnets and a set of magnets to explore the concept. It would also be the rare child to ask for simple machines or any other number of interesting science concepts. To help Cam discover whether or not she is interested I have set up (and am rotating in) a number of science activities and sets to pique her interest. If she’s drawn to them I read to her from books and discuss the concepts more thoroughly.

Thus far magnets have been the biggest hit and she pulls in any visitor to show her magnets off. She was less interested in the rocks and minerals except as light table accessories. The light & color exploration have also been less popular, but I think it would be better if I actually sat down with her and explicitly demonstrated a few ideas she can try.

For Your Bookshelf: Natural History

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On a recent trip to Costco I came across the book pictured below, which I had seen in the library before. It is absolutely beautiful and features thousands of photographs of every type of living thing. Except, oddly enough, for whales and dolphins which are lovely drawings. Go figure.

Natural History

Cam is in love with this book. She flips through it despite its enormous size. She is particluarly fond of the owl pages (big surprise there), the colorful birds, the penguins (another shocker) and some of the small brown furry mammals. In my best attempt at following her interests, we bought her a smaller sized book (also published by DK) that is essentially an abbreviated version of this one. It is more portable and I think she’ll have a much easier time flipping through it. Plus if the pages get torn or worn or rumpled I don’t really care.

I know the book is pricey, although I found it for $20 less than its cover price at Costco and I imagine it will eventually pop up on sale tables, I think it’s worth the investment if your child is interested. I can also see it really tying in well with the Montessori Great Lessons as well as a science curriculum and an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth.