I Love Hamsters!

I love hamsters!

Our new little hamster will need a good name! He has soft brown fur with a white tummy and three black stripes on his head. He is a male “Teddy Bear” hamster, so he will grow fluffier. His eyes are brown and he has dark tips on his little ears. He is about 4 months old. He is very curious but still quite nervous. He seems very calm UNTIL you let him run around! Then he is sooo lively! He made little squeaks when he first came home. He also made a BIG squeak when I surprised him by turning on the light when he didn’t expect me.

Here is a video of our scampery new hamster in action!


Compost Worm Observations

We have been SOIL SCIENTISTS, observing and investigating what soil is made of. We have looked at rocks, gravel, sand, clay, and humus! Then we learned about how earthworms help enrich the soil. We started our own compost container using Red Wiggler worms. It was “verrrrry interesting”, looking at the worms close-up!

Earthworm / Red Wiggler Worm study from Nora Boekhout on Vimeo.

Walking Stick Tricks!

Today we went out into Nestor park area to identify and collect some blackberry bramble for our Walking Stick insects to eat. (Mrs. B. had gloves on because bramble has big thorns!) Blackberry bramble grows wild all over Coquitlam, and it is actually an invasive species, which means it is crowding out our native plants! (So Mrs. B. doesn’t feel bad collecting it… but she doesn’t cut the branches with yummy berries on them!) Then we had our first chance to observe our little pets CLOSE UP!  Walking Stick insects belong to the Phasmid insect group.  Phasmid means “ghost” and they are called that because their camouflage helps them “disappear” into the leaves and branches!

We have four different kinds of Walking Sticks in our class: Indian Sticks (they are the very best at folding up just like a little stick!), Vietnamese Sticks (they are green and are our longest ones), Pink Winged Sticks (they can fly short distances), and brown Thorny Sticks (a little scary to look at, but it’s fun to watch the big females give the little males “piggy back rides”).

We learned a little Stick Anatomy“… like all insects they have 3 body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.  We were careful in our drawings to show that the legs (and wings) all attach to the thorax.  We learned that the special mouthparts are called “mandibles” and that they chew from side to side, not up and down like we do!  The abdomen holds all the organs… or “guts” !  The female Thorny Sticks have a long pointed “tail” that looks like a stinger… but it’s really an “ovipositor“, a special part that helps them dig a hole in the ground to lay their eggs.


Observing our Walking Sticks from Nora Boekhout on Vimeo.

“Where did you get them?” asked the class and Mrs. Boekhout answered, I breed them! You will get the chance to see babies at school too!”  It’s going to be a great year for SCIENTIFIC OBSERVATIONS!

Which Walking Stick did YOU like the best?
Go to our SURVEY below!!!



Voting for a Hamster Name

We have been very busy learning about SURVEYS, VOTING, and DATA COLLECTION this week. Coincidentally, there is a municipal election going on right now and some of the voters will be heading to our school on Saturday!

Our first work involved looking at the two surveys we have done on our Edublog: Favourite Walking Stick Insect and Favourite Pet. We found out that the number of votes in our survey doesn’t actually tell us how many PEOPLE voted. (It’s a good thing that government voting keeps track of the names of people!) We could tell, however, that not everyone in the class voted for the first survey, because there were only 14 votes. The second survey had 31 votes, but we found out that some people voted twice and some people didn’t vote at all. Pink Winged Walking Sticks were the favourite stick bug and dogs were the favourite pet.  We looked at which came second, which came last, and made some comparisons between the choices.   There was a lot of GOOD MATH going on!!!

FINALLY, Mrs. B. let us get down to the exciting activity of giving our hamster a name!

We collected a LOT of different ideas for a good hamster name

(3 groups of 19 = well… an easier question is… 
3 groups of 20 = 60,
then take away 3 = 57…
then add a couple of names suggested online….
but take away the names that were suggested twice….
Oh GEE, let’s just say we had a LOT of names!!!)


Take a look at our TAGXEDO of Hamster Names!

In our first round of voting, we picked our favourite 3 or 4 names.

That helped us narrow down the choices to 12 names (Burnout, Flash, Fluffy, Nibbles, Ollie, Runsalot, Speedy, Sputnik, Teddy, Wiggles, Zap, Zappy).  


Then we voted again and ended up with just 4 names:
Fluffy, TeddyWiggles, and Zap.
(Mrs. Boekhout’s favourite had been “Sputnik”, but this name didn’t make it into the final round.)

In the last round of voting, the winning name was


We hope our new little hamster
s his new name!



New Hamster!

This week we will have to be on our BESTinside voices“… because we have a new class pet!  He will be nervous at first, even though Mrs. Boekhout has been working with him at home.  Mrs. Boekhout tried to pick the calmest one in the litter, but he most definitely has personality!  At first he was only allowed in the small cage, but once he got into his big new cage, this little guy turned into wildfire

This week we will watch him carefully so that we can give him a good name.  It will have to be something spunky, that’s for sure!  He is only 2 1/2 months old, so he isn’t supposed to be given fruits and veggies yet. We will have to find out which “hamster treats” he likes.  He definitely enjoys sunflower seeds.

     Here are two videos of our new little friend!

Introduction to our New Hamster – Video1

Our New Hamster – Video2

what SHALL we call him???

StickBugs, Class Pets, and more!!!

Dear Mom and Dad…

This week we had SOOO many things to choose from for our Journal Letters home!  Mrs. Boekhout could have FILLED the board!  In the end, however, we had to choose just ONE event, so that we could practice our GOOD WRITING SKILLS by ZOOMING IN and ADDING DETAILS We want our parents to be able to VISUALIZE the scene.

Here are some of the exciting events our class chose to write about:

the class pets, the class hamster, calendar time, reading the next chapters in our novel  “Class Pets”, the new grass lizards, Clues & Questions by the Special Helper of the Day,  getting to hold the Walking Stick insects, the Terry Fox run, birds coming to our bird feeders.  Whew!

Mrs. Boekhout is going to choose the Walking Sticks for this blog because… WOW!  Everyone was SO excited when each table got a blackberry branch with 4 different species of Walking Sticks on it!  Stick Bugs are known as PhasmidsGhost Insects… because their camouflage lets them “disappear” into the branches and leaves. 

Our Indian Sticks do a neat trick… they fold 2 legs forward and 4 legs backwards, until you can’t see anything but a little green twig!  The Pink Wings have tiny, delicate wings and can flutter away when disturbed.  The Bacculum Sticks are our longest sticks.  They like to wave their 2 front legs in the air, just as if they were saying “hello”!  The Thorny Sticks could win an “ugly bug” award with their brown thorny bodies!  The males are much smaller than the females and you can often see them having a piggy back ride around the bug tank!  All of our Walking Stick insects live happily in one big tank, and they all eat Blackberry leaves.  Blackberries are actually an invasive species here (even though the berries are soooo yummy!), so Mrs. B. doesn’t mind chopping them off for “bug dinners”.

Walking Stick Welcome! on PhotoPeach


–> Watch our Walking Sticks Video here! <–


Hope you had an exciting week too!


A Survey Poll

Let’s try a survey poll to start off some MATH GRAPHING!

Choose your favourite pet  from the 10 choices (sorry, you can only pick ONE) and add a comment to tell why it is your favourite. The comment won’t show up until Mrs. Boekhout moderates it. That means she will check to see that there isn’t anything inappropriate!



I’m looking forward to seeing the results!