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'Dancing Bees' please students
The students' hands shot up quickly to ask questions of author Kathy Coatney as she finished reading her book "Beekeeper Pat and the Amazing Dancing Bees," at Richfield Elementary School on Thursday.
Coatney's bee book is the second self-published book she has written for her agriculture-themed "The Farm Guy/Gal Series." Her first, which she also read to the students, was "Four Quarts Makes a Gallon."
"Did you get stung by a bee?" asked a second-grade student in Sheryl Vinson's class.
Coatney said "no," she had been protected by a beekeeper's suit and veil while researching her book at Beekeeper Pat's bee colonies.
The students were very impressed.
Another student, a third-grader in Kathy Spannaus's class, asked Coatney if she had ever seen the quadruplet calves born on John Zuppan's Orland dairy — the subject of her first book.
"I saw them when they were babies and I just saw them yesterday. They are teenagers now and have grown a lot," she said.
When explaining the fact that the calves mother, Maybelle, produces 10 gallons a day, Richfield Superintendent Rich Gifford responded, "Holy Cow."
Coatney, 52, who refers to herself as a "dairy farmer's daughter," along with being a author is a photojournalist who writes for agriculture-based publications.
After Coatney read each book, Vinson and Spannaus asked the students questions to make sure they were listening very carefully.
Most of the questions were answered quickly and correctly, but the students got a little stuck when asked what bees make their beehive from.
Finally a student answered, "Beeswax."
They were quick to understand beehive cells are hexagonally shaped.
"We just learned about that shape this week," said one of Vinson's students. "That means it has six sides."
Teaching students about agriculture through math and science is one of the highlights of Coatney's books.
"I use those two educational components in my children's books. I also use words that are on the vocabulary list for second- and third-grade students. Whenever one of those words is used it is bolded, so it stands out," Coatney explained.
She left two of her bee books with Vinson and Spannaus for their classroom libraries.
For more information about Coatney, visit www.kathycoatney.com.