Mason Bees and Daffodils

Although we didn’t get our daffodils from the Ministry this year (they somehow left us off the list!), Mrs. Boekhout had saved lots of the bulbs from last year AND she bought some special “Happy Canada 150” red and white tulips that came right from Holland!   In the Fall, we learned about bulbs and how they grow.  Then we planted our bulbs.  We also learned about the life cycle of Mason Bees.  They are Solitary Bees, so they don’t make a hive.  The females almost never sting, and the males can’t sting at all!  That’s nice!  Mason Bees are one of the first insects to come out in Spring, and they are important pollinators.  Mrs. Boekhout keeps the cocoons over the summer, washes them in Fall, and then tucks them away over the Winter in a cool, but not freezing, place.

Early Spring is also the time when we get our Mason Bees ready to “wake up”.   Our wonderful “Mason Bee Man”, Pasquale, came into the class to tell us more about the bees.  He showed us how to “roll” paper straws for the bees to use for their eggs.   Mason Bees pack a pile of pollen in the tubes first, then they lay just one egg and they build a little mud wall… all inside the straw!  Every egg has its own little bedroom!  Our job was to get the straws ready.  Pasquale hand-made a special Mason Bee house for our class the year before!  He painted it beautiful colors, and made little “cubbies” in it. He opened up one of the cocoons for us to see, and hold, a live Mason Bee!  The rest of the cocoons went in a little box.  We put the little box inside the Bee House and then waited… not very long… to see the first bees emerge!  We cheered and clapped for them!


Later on, but still in Spring, we were SO excited when our bulbs started to pop up out of the soil!  When our beautiful flowers started to open, we learned more about the anatomy of a flower and the daffodil life cycle.   We couldn’t wait to go outside to sketch them! They made the Sanctuary look SO BEAUTIFUL!


Here is a SlideShow of us at both our fun times in the Sanctuary!

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Can you remember where YOUR Daffodils were?

Visiting Scientist!

Thanks to Science World’s Scientists & Innovators in Schools program, we were lucky enough to have a real Biologist, Ms. Baker, visit our classroom!  Having our own Classroom pets helped us give some good answers to her first questions about animal life, but then the surprises began!  We colored in some pictures of living organisms like birds and trees, as well as air, water, and sun and taped them to our shirts.  Then Ms. Baker handed each of the three groups a big ball of wool!  Too funny!  We had to make connections like… birds need water,  water helps trees grow,  trees make air… but every time we made a connection, we passed the ball of wool along!  Pretty soon it looked like a big spider web, but Ms. Baker explained that it was a web of lifeEverything is connected!  Now that we had the “big idea” we made posters showing all those connections!  No wonder we have to be careful with the environment… everything is connected!


Here we are in action!

          How many connections did YOU make with the wool?


Our Magnet Projects!

As part of our FORCES AND MOTION Science Unit, we had a lot of fun learning about MAGNETIC FORCES!  The highlight of the unit was a take-home project which became a BIG display in the hallway.  SO many people stopped to look at our amazing projects!  Each project was so unique!  Then we took time ( a LOT of time! ) to listen to each person’s project write-up, see the experiment in action, and then ask questions and make comments afterwards.  Mrs. B. video-taped each person’s “scientific presentation”.)


Presenting our work to the class was a great experience!

Enjoy the collage of our video presentations!


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What was YOUR favourite part of the Magnet Project?


Pumpkin Science, Art, and Math!

Pumpkins large, pumpkins small,
pumpkins shaped round as a ball!

We made good use of our 6 table pumpkins!  Our first job was “Science in Art“, where we used our “scientist’s eyes” to make careful observations and then sketch our pumpkins from 3 different perspectives.  The 4th perspective was “personality“… that was fun to see all the different creative ideas!  For “Pumpkin Math” we invited some parents into the class to help us scoop out the oopy goopy, sloppy pumpkin pulp.  We used egg cartons as 10 frame counters.  It was tricky trying to separate the pumpkin seeds from that slimy pulp!  We worked on our “Power of Ten Math Strategies” to count up the seeds for each pumpkin.  Finding 10’s is first, then making 10’s.  Of course we had to find 100’s and make 100’s instead… but if you can add to 10 you can do almost anything!  Finally we got to carve our pumpkins.  It took some cooperative skills to plan each face.
We think our Jack o’Lanterns turned out great!


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Did you figure out how many seeds we counted in all?

Freaky Frankenstein Science


Kinetic Kathleen from High Touch High Tech Science came into our classroom with a big box of activities for us to try.  We learned about spiders and made our own spider webs.  We watched a chemical reaction and then ate (yes, ATE) our experiment!  It was called “Spider Blood Candy”… how spooky is that!  We learned how to use pipettes too.  Then came the goggles and the Green Slime experiment!  Our green liquid turned into a green slime ball!  Yucky but oh so fun!  Kinetic Kathleen saved the Plasma Ball until the end.  We turned out all the lights and watched the lightning!  (It reminded us of Adrian’s Clues and Questions!)  Science is AWESOME!


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Which experiment was YOUR favourite?


Sketching with a Scientist’s Eyes

What incredible weather we have had…
and what a great reason to GET OUTSIDE!
It was the perfect opportunity to visit our beautiful “Sanctuary Courtyard” and compare “the Big Picture” with a “Close-up View“.  Sketching is a great way to practice seeing with a Scientist’s eyes, because it makes you focus on DETAILS.

Here are some photos of us as we got started with our “Big Pictures”.


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What did YOU choose for your “Close-up View”?



B.C. Dairy Mobile Lab

What a MOO-ving experience!  We were treated to a presentation featuring Libby, the Holstein dairy cow, and her new baby calf.  Did you know that cows have FOUR stomachs?  Guess what… a brown cow still gives WHITE MILK. (Did you think it was chocolate milk? LOL!) Libby showed us her loooooong tonguealmost 30 cm!  Mrs. Boekhout learned that cows don’t have any front upper teeth!  Verrrry interesting!  We got to see the milking machine in action.  The baby calf, Lilac, certainly enjoyed her BIG bottle of milk too.  Lilac was only 2 weeks old!



How much milk do YOU drink in a day?


Earthworm Discoveries

Wiggly, Squiggly, Jiggly, Doo,
Be careful with your shovel
or you’ll cut him in two!

Earthworms are such a wonderful part of Nature’s plan! We are learning about them first-hand with our Worm Composter. We use Red Wriggler worms… ordinary earthworms would not be happy in an enclosed or an indoor environment. Our worms are AMAZING!

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What surprised YOU about our worms?

Clean Hands!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Look how clean my two hands are!
Wash the back and then the front,
Between the fingers rub-a-dub.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Look how clean my two hands are!

Today we had a CLEAN HANDS presentation… that was also a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!

First of all we got to sprinkle red sparkles all over our hands. The sparkles were simulated GERMS (but actually, they were very pretty germs!) Then we began the experiment. We tested three ways of cleaning our hands.

The first way was by just wiping our hands with a paper towel. Oh dear! That didn’t get rid of very many germs at all!

The second way was to wash our hands in cold water and then dry with a paper towel. That was a little bit better, but still not very good.

The last part of the experiment was to wash our hands with SOAP and WARM WATER and then dry with a paper towel. Yeah! That was the best way to get rid of those sparkly germs!

We also learned that you need to be sure to wash for as long as it takes to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” or “Happy Birthday”. Then you need to turn off the tap with your paper towel (otherwise those germs you left on the tap will go right back on your hands!) Mrs. Boekhout was a little concerned about having the water run for so long. (After all, we aren’t supposed to let the water run while we brush our teeth, right?) One idea is to not run the water too hard. Another idea is to just wet your hands and turn off the tap. Wash while you sing and then turn the tap on again and give another little wash before you rinse. Then use the paper towel to turn off the tap,

It might sound complicated, but we want to GET RID OF GERMS but still NOT WASTE WATER!

Clean Hands on PhotoPeach

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!!!