Grouse Mountain Field Trip

The field trip to Grouse Mountain was PHENOMENAL despite the constant downpour of rain throughout the day!  (Many kudos to our stalwart parents and volunteers who braved the wet weather!)

After a long bus ride we arrived at the Grouse Mountain Tram.  It was exciting to all squash into the Skyride tram and head up to the Alpine Station. We could feel the swaying, bumps, and shakes as we headed up the Mountain, but it was so rainy and foggy that we couldn’t actually see how high we were!  Our morning was spent in an authentic Pacific Northwest Coast Longhouse, where we both watched and participated in, the educational Hiwus Presentation (First Nations Cultural Experience) led by an elder of the Squamish Nation. We learned about the ancient customs, legends, dances and rich history of our First nation people. We listened to singing and drumming, and got to do our own “Raven Dance”!

During the lunch hour we watched the Lumberjack Show.  The Lumberjacks didn’t worry too much about falling in the water for the log rolling competition, because they were already soaking wet!  They were really funny! Fortunately, after the show we were able to eat our lunches inside where it was dry and warm.

The afternoon was spent learning about the similarities and differences between the three species of North American bears.  The videos were wonderful!  Then we got to explore different tables of artifacts.  We had to sort out skulls, claws, and footprints to match them up with the correct animal.  All the parents were put to work at the tables, so we didn’t get any photos… too bad!  We also got to see the orphaned Grizzly bears as they wandered through their enclosure.  Wow, they were SO BIG!


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What was YOUR favourite part of the day?



Be a “Zero Hero”

École Nestor Elementary School is working hard to become totally LITTERLESS, so we brought in the Planet Protectors from DreamRider Theater to present a fun-but-educational show about being a “Zero Hero”!  Esmerelda Planet Protector and her sidekick, Goober, worked hard to battle the Evil Dr. Carbon.  He wanted to put SMALL things in BIG packages, just to make money! I think Esmerelda won the day this time!

What are YOU doing to be a ZERO HERO?





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?


Mason Bee House!

We were SO lucky this year, and so were our Mason Bees! Pasquale, our local “Mason Bee Man“, dedicated a lot of time and effort over the winter to hand-make an AWESOME new wood Mason Bee House for our school! It even has RAINBOW COLOURED “Mason Bee Cubbies”! It is such a BEAUTIFUL new Mason Bee home, and Pasquale even donated a cubby-full of cocoons to hatch! We truly THANK YOU, Pasquale!!!

We learned a lot more information about Mason Bees from Pasquale’s introductory lesson and from the DVD that his son made. It was interesting (and a little scary) to actually see real pollen mites and parasitic wasps under the microscope! It’s not easy to be a BEE!

The best part is… seeing our own Mason Bees fly in and out of their new home!


Here’s a short video of some of our “Bee Action” in the Sanctuary Courtyard!

What do YOU remember best about setting up our Mason Bee House?




Denis Chang Gypsy Jazz

Pizza! Cue in the music… Pizza!
I can’t give you anything but love/PIZZA!

Oh… sorry…
I was starting off to tell about the FANTASTIC musical performance by the Denis Chang Quartet and got swept up in his Pizza Theme! (No… the teachers are NOT going to have a Pizza Party afterwards.)  It was wonderful to have my class experience a professional music performance!

What a treat for the ears!  The music was so fast and energetic that it made you want to snap your fingers in time and then suddenly, it was slow and rhythmic in a way that it made you close your eyes in complete relaxation.  It was exciting to know that a special part of “jazz music” is that much of it is “improvised”… that means, some of the music is created right on the spot!  Each member of the quartet had his own special talent.  The youngest member, Connor, was only 18 and still in high school!  He played like a pro on two saxophones, a tenor sax and a soprano sax.  Another member played guitar and had a velvety singing voice, even when Denis told him he had to sing about “pizza”!  The stand-up bass player really delighted the audience with his oh-so-low notes.  Denis Chang was, of course, AMAZING with his lightning fast fingers on the guitar.  We also enjoyed hearing him sing in the traditional Romanian Gypsy language.
(This is not the performance/musicians we saw, but it does show Denis Chang and the same instruments.)

Our class was especially delighted to see THE MR. BEAR with his stuffed guitar, on the stage. (We had spotted him in some of the Youtube videos.)  Mrs. Boekhout brought Monty Moose “just in case” and before the concert started, Monty had a chance for a little chat and a photo with Mr. Bear.  Mr. Bear has been all over the world, just like Monty Moose, and the two of them have even been to some of the same places!

After an extremely wet walk to the Evergreen Center, we were treated to a short break in the rain as we returned to school.  This gave us time to check out the local ducks in Lafarge Lake. We saw at least THREE different species!  The Mallard males and females were the easiest to identify.

So, what started off to be a potentially dismal wet day turned out to be a lovely adventure!  As we walked along in that soggy-doggy weather, it brought to mind some OTHER musicians… of the “Kids’ Music” variety!

I’ve got new boots, my raincoat too. I’ve got my hat, and it’s bright blue!
I’m ready for, you’re ready for, we’re ready for… the puddles!
(Thanks, Charlotte Diamond!)

Ducks like rain, ducks like rain!
Ducks like to widdle waddle in the rain!
(Thanks, Raffi!)

Which instrument was your favorite?


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?

Mason Bees in the Fall

We went on a Field Trip to the Inspiration Garden last week,
to learn about Mason Bees!



We were sooooo lucky… it was a PERFECT Fall day, sunny skies and crisp, cool air!  There were three stations for us.  At one station we learned about the difference between Mason Bees and Honey Bees.  Mason Bees are solitary and Honey Bees are social.  Mason Bees almost never sting… in fact, the male bees CANNOT sting!  Some of us remembered that they drink nectar (for energy) and eat pollen (for protein).  Lots of us remembered that bees are insects and have 3 body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen) and 6 legs.  We learned that Mason Bees can pollinate more flowers than Honey Bees because they DON’T have a “pollen basket” on their legs.  This means that they “dust” more pollen when they travel from flower to flower.

We got to meet Pasquale, who is our local BEE EXPERT.  Last year he had 8,000 Mason Bee cocoons!  He showed us what Mason Bee houses look like and he had some live Mason Bees to show us.  That’s pretty special because almost all Mason Bees are still in their cocoons in the Fall.  Pasquale opened a cocoon for us and we saw a REAL LIVE BEE come out!  Some of us even got to hold it!  Then he showed us the tiny pollen mites that are bad for Mason Bees.  We saw how he washed the cocoons to clean off the mites.  Amazing!

Our third station was a lot of fun!  They had an “Arts ‘n Crafts” table where we made “mini pumpkin bees” to take home!  The volunteers at the Inspiration Garden grew all the pumpkins themselves!  Wow!   We used Sharpies, black duct tape, construction paper, wax paper, sparkly pipe cleaners, and “googly eyes” to make the cutest bees ever!

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Thank you,
Inspiration Garden Volunteers!

We learned a LOT and had a LOT of FUN too!


What was YOUR favorite part
of learning about Mason Bees?

Click on the title (Mason Bees in the Fall).
It will take you to a new page.
At the bottom, you can add your comment!




Sketching the Sanctuary

The day was SOOOOO beautiful, we simply HAD to do something outside!  It was the perfect day to start our “Sketch Books” and discover the “Sanctuary”.  This lovely courtyard is right across from our own room.  It has a pond and waterfall, built by our PAC, with beautiful orange and white fish.  There are two trees and many plants, as well as a Mason Bee house.  Our class has 6 planters and we were lucky to see one acidanthera and one gladiola still in bloom from the summer!  Our first job was to sit back and sketch the Sanctuary as a whole.  Then we chose something to focus in on, and sketch a detailed close-up.  It was such a great way to appreciate nature!


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What was YOUR favorite part
to look at and sketch?