19% Cold

Wildly changing temperature and weather patterns have brought us the best the Winter season can offer; snow, ice, and then <bam> a summer-feeling day. Arriving on that wave of warmth . . . a bee.


At the beginning of the school year, we had quite the intense adventure with a gripping, freezing terror of yellow jackets (read about that here). This Winter-bee drifted past and most years, no one would have even noticed it. I didn’t even see it initially. What I did notice was an all-alert body stance as one of the children saw it, and then I saw a bee-like flying thing.

This child held his hand up, reassuring me (and himself), “That’s a drone, definitely a drone. Just a honey bee drone.”

All I could say was what a wrong time of year for any flying insect to be out! It would go back to freezing any minute, poor thing.

“That’s right,” he added, reassuring all who would listen. “The honey bee drone doesn’t know. It’s only 19% cold. To the drone. Only 19% cold.”


I was struck with how good, how very, very good, math works for dealing with trouble. The Yellow Jacket situation was dealt with by figuring out that honey bee drones could sting only once making their sting both precious and finite. The “just once” seems so much better than an all-out and unpredictable attack of yellow jackets. It makes so much sense.

Aren’t you curious though about the “19% cold” idea?

Isn’t this the best part of our jobs, hearing children’s unique take on BIG ideas? Of course, 19 is so far away from 100. This child knows that 100% is the tippy top. Choosing 19% though is so lovely. It says, “Stay on your toes, but also it’s just 19% after all.”

But that is not what he meant. He meant that the cold was up from 0% which meant that it was 19% up from totally freezing. Still, you should pay attention, but it was just 19% cold, not enough to bring out the drone’s cousins, Yellow Jacket and Bald-Faced Wasps.

Up or down, thank you Math.