Classroom Energy Diet Challenge – Can YOU help?

PLEDGE FORM – (You will need an email address.)

You might think of cutting down on sticky cupcakes and sweet soda pop when we say the word “diet”, but Classroom2Kids has been working on an ENERGY DIET with  Canadian Geographic!  The Challenges are fun and involve lots of SCIENCE, MATH, and ENVIRONMENTAL studies… but that’s not why Mrs. Boekhout started the class on this project… she started it because Classroom2kids could never remember to SHUT THE DOOR when they went outside to play!  It’s been really cold, too! Brrr! A lot of HEAT ENERGY would go flying out the door with the students!

We aren’t close to the top in total number of points… and we can only imagine how much learning those students have done, but we ARE proud to say that we are NUMBER 17 in points out of over 250 CLASSES in Canada, grades K to 12! (Here is a map of the participants.)  Add that to the fact that dozens more classes signed up for the challenges and never even started!

So far, we have done 7 challenges: Buckle Up (making wise transportation choices), Post It (putting up posters that promote good energy use), What’s for Lunch (tracking how where the food comes from), Drew’s One Hour No Power (we did two hours!), Making the Energy Grade (doing an energy audit in our classroom, improving what we could, and then re-auditing to see the difference), Get Growing (learning about the importance of photosynthesis and growing our own plants), Water Works (calculating how much water we use each day and thinking of ways to not waste water).  We have started “Energy Needs and Wants” (what uses energy but is “entertainment” or “easy” rather than “necessity”) and over Spring Break we will be trying to give up one “energy want” for a whole week!

What can YOU DO?

Can you walk or take the bus instead of always taking the car?
Can you remember to turn off lights,
wear a sweater instead of turning the heat up,
unplug things you aren’t using?
Can you turn off the tap while you brush your teeth?

You can help our earth by making just one pledge to save energy too!
You can help us earn points by using our pledge form to do it!

Students… get the whole family involved!
Parents… help out by providing an email address!
Everyone… you can HELP our EARTH save energy!


PLEDGE FORM(You will need an email address.)

We hope you will sign up… not sign out!



The Maple Man… La Grande Coulée

We had such a special treat today…
the “Maple Man” came to perform at our school! 

It was a real coincidence in timing, because Mrs. Boekhout and Monty Moose had just come back from their very first (but very short) trip to Quebec.  (They didn’t get to see a Maple farm, but they did get to go dogsledding!  That, however, will be in ANOTHER post!)

The Maple Man, René Turmel, is a third generation “Maple Sugar” producer.  His Maple tree grove is in Sainte-Marie de Beauce, near Quebec City, Quebec but most of the year he lives in the Okanagan Valley, BC.  He travels across Canada sharing some of the traditions and history of French Canadians

Watch our video to see some of the wonderful learning from this session:


The Maple Man Video 

 Have you ever eaten “Le tire” (Maple Taffy)?
Has the Maple Man ever been to your school?

Here are some videos of us “in action” with the Maple Man!

1. It was fun learning how sticks and spoons can make rhythms and music!

Maple Man Music

2.  We also learned some fancy dance steps from a wooden puppet!

Maple Man Dancing

3. Finally, we got to see the making of “le tire” and EAT SOME! Yum!

Maple Man Taffy

Which instrument would you like to play the most…
the spoons,  the fiddle,  or  the accordian?




It’s PUMPKIN time!

What a pretty pound of pumpkins WE have had going this week! The “Pumpkin Man” snuck into our classroom overnight and left one pumpkin on each table… six altogether.  During the week, we READ about pumpkins, watched a PUMPKIN PATCH VIDEO about pumpkins, learned about the pumpkin LIFE CYCLE, and WROTE FACTS about pumpkins.  We MEASURED our pumpkins and COMPARED them to the circumference of our head, our weights, our heights and MORE.  We counted OUR RIBS (24) and THEIR RIBS.  We looked at their 3-D shapes, and the length of their stems. Then we compared all of our pumpkins with each other.  After doing all this math and science work with our “Table Pumpkins”, we got to go out into our own “Nestor Pumpkin Patch” and choose a pumpkin of our own to take home!  They were pretty big, but none as big as the 2010 largest pumpkin of 1,800 pounds!  (Did you know that the record size of a pumpkin pie is 20 feet wide… almost as big as our classroom!) 

Here we are at our own “Nestor Pumpkin Patch”.  We got to hunt for pumpkins in our very own school park!  A big THANK YOU to our PAC for organizing this activity for all the primary students!


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What we know about pumpkins!

By Div. 7

Most pumpkins weigh between 9 to 18 lbs.
There is a sport called underwater pumpkin carving.
A pumpkin is really a squash. It is a member of the Cucurbita family.
Giant pumpkins can be as heavy as a little car.
You can cook pumpkins.
Pumpkins are used for feeding animals.
Flowers grow before the pumpkin grows.
Pumpkins can  be planted directly into your garden by seeds or by transplanting.
Inside the pumpkin you will find pulp and seeds. Pulp is orange stuff that is gooey.
The first pair of leaves look like a butterfly.
Six of seven continents can grow pumpkins, including Alaska! Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins do not grow.
The world record weight for a pumpkin is held by Chris Stevens at 1,810 lbs. in 2010.
The seeds that you find inside a pumpkin are creamy white. The seeds a farmer grows are coated in a pink powder.
Fungus often grows on the leaves.  Amanda found that in her own garden.
Pumpkins can vary in color from white to yellow, to green, to orange.
People use pumpkins to make jack o’lanterns.
If you plant your pumpkin, do it 1 or 2 inches deep, in a group of 5.

Pumpkins are great plants for kids to grow. Dylan, Amanda, Hannah, Meghan L., Mattias, Keegan, Dennis, Eric, Alyssa have all tried it!
Pumpkins contain Vitamin A and potassium.
In winter, farmers can feed pumpkins to chickens to help egg production.
Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000  to 5500BC.

 We also found out that little pumpkins may have more seeds than big pumpkins.  It may depend upon the number of RIBS that a pumpkin has. We have a SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESIS (that means a prediction based on a real fact)!  We think that OUR pumpkins with more ribs will have more seeds! We will find out the answer when we scoop out our 6 classroom pumpkins!

What do YOU think
we will find???




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!


Birdie #3

Further to our post with a junco in the classroom, and Mrs. B. getting to hold a real hummingbird… we really DID have a third birdie “event”.

It happened after Sports Day. I was on my way outside to cut some blackberry leaves to feed our Walking Stick insects when she noticed some crows picking at something on the ground. It was a bushtit nest (these tiny little birds make a long “bag” nest!). When I looked inside, there was a broken egg shell. Lots of people were at the park, so I thought I would show the children my exciting find. The moms there mentioned that they had noticed how busy the crows had been. As I showed the nest to the children, I suddenly noticed a tiny little ball tucked up at the top… and it was breathing! It was a baby bushtit! I couldn’t reach the branches of the tree to try to hang it back up, and even if I could, the crows would have gone right back and eaten the baby! Soooo….. I took the baby home! I have fed baby cockatiels, lovebirds, parrotlets and more, so I got out my baby bird food and got to work!


Here is a little VIDEO of our Baby Bushtit being fed!!!

Baby Bushtit


Visiting Birdies!

Our hard work learning about birds must have reached our feathered friends… a junco came into our classroom after school last week!

Then, while Mrs. Boekhout was sick in bed on the long weekend, “Granny” handed her a little Rufous hummingbird that had stunned itself on the back deck.  The happy news is that after keeping it warm and safe for about 10 minutes, it was able to fly off into the trees!

Things often happen in “threes“… I wonder what bird will be next!?!?

It’s Metamorphosis! That’s Metamorphosis!

What excitement!  A box marked URGENT and LIVE SPECIMENS arrived! 

Most of the class guessed what was in it… because Mrs. Boekhout hadn’t been very good about keeping the secret!  It was our Painted Lady Caterpillars! The surprise was, however, they were SO SMALL and there were SO MANY of them!  Could these tiny, wiggly creatures actuallygrow into beautiful little butterflies?

While Mrs. B. was busy getting all the special equipment ready, the class was exercising their brains on two important questions: 
1) What do I ALREADY KNOW about butterflies? 
2) What do I WONDER about butterflies?

Most of the class DID have lots of facts tucked away in their “memory pockets“… and some students even drew diagrams of the life cycle and the anatomy of butterflies.  There was still room for LOTS of interesting questions!

Caterpillar Questions

I wonder how many caterpillar legs there are?
Do caterpillars have sticky feet? Sticky toes?
What do caterpillars drink?
What do caterpillars eat?
What happens inside a cocoon?
How big are caterpillars?
Do caterpillars eat 1000 leaves before making a cocoon?
I wonder how many times a caterpillar sheds?
I wonder if caterpillars make webs?
Can caterpillars dig?
I wonder if caterpillars are insects?
Can caterpillars eat pine cones?

 How many kinds of caterpillars and butterflies are there?
How do caterpillars turn into butterflies?
How fast do caterpillars grow to be butterflies?

 Butterfly Questions

I wonder when butterflies wings get wet, can they still fly?
I wonder how many legs butterflies have?
Do butterflies have bones? A nose?  Hair?  Sticky feet? Teeth?
Can butterflies fly around the world?
Where is the spot that butterflies get nectar?
Do butterflies make pollen?
Do butterflies have 4 wings?
Hiow do they smell with their feet?
Do they hear with their wings?
Why do they have a long curved tongue?
Why do butterflies land on 4 feet.
How do butterflies smell?
Do butterflies eat anything?  Do they eat leaves like caterpillars?
How do butterflies make babies?
Where do butterflies come from?
How big are butterflies?
What colors are butterflies?
How do butterflies fly to flowers?
How long do butterflies live?
Can butterflies fight other insects?
Can butterflies fly upside down?
I wonder how big a butterfly’s eggs are?
I wonder what the butterfly’s feeding tube is called.
Are butterflies important to flowers?
Do butterflies do different things to help the environment?
How fast can butterflies fly?
I wonder what a butterfly’s favorite food is.
I wonder where a butterfly’s favorite place is.

As we WATCH, and READ, and SHARE, and LEARN about caterpillars and butterflies in the next few weeks, I’m sure we will answer many of those questions!


You can see more photos of Painted Lady caterpillars and butterflies on Mrs. B’s Classroom Pets website.

B.I.T. – Bird Identification Tally

Meep, meep!  Fee-bee, fee-bee!  Hoo- hoo, hoo-hoo!

Do you know which of these is an OWL?  a NUTHATCH?  a CHICKADEE?

We have been learning to identify many of the birds in our local area… especially the birds that come to our tree and window BirdFeeders!  Our Ornithologist of the week writes down the birds we see. We have seen chickadees (black-capped and chestnut backed), juncos, song sparrows, house finches, house sparrows, Stellar’s Jays (that’s our BC bird!), Towhees, white-crowned sparrows, bushtits, crows, starlings, varied thrush, as well as Downy woodpeckers, flickers, and even big Pileated Woodpeckers!  (Oops… no owls, though!) We usually see Rufous hummingbird, although they haven’t come to our window yet this year.  One year, Mrs. B. even had a mallard duck pair bring their BABIES to nibble on fallen seeds!

On the May long weekend we collect bird data over two days and then submit our results to SEEDS Canada  Students all over Canada count up the birds they see!  As well as learning about our local environment, we get to use our MATH skills for all the data we collect!  I wonder what bird will be the most commonly seen this year?  (Hint: It’s usually a CROW!!!)

This year we had a very special “bird activity”, thanks to one of our students and his Mom!  They brought in Owl Pellets!  Owls eat their prey whole, and after about 12 to 18 hours, they “cough up” a fur ball of all the parts they can’t digest!  You might say, “Yuck, disgusting!” but we decided to act like scientists and say, “Verrrry interesting!”  We couldn’t believe all the little bones we found!  We found skulls and leg bones from little rodents, and were able to identify some of the bones on charts just made for owl pellets!  Science is SO much fun!



 Our favourite bird website is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology because we can look up birds, see a map of where they live, hear their bird songs (or squawks!), and sometimes even watch short video clips!


Spring is time for Eagle nests too!


We have been watching the EAGLE CAM in Decorah, Iowa!  When we started, the third chick was only ONE DAY OLD!

“The Raptor Resource Project brings you the Decorah Eagles from atop their tree at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa.”

We are also hoping to watch a LOCAL Eagle’s nest in Delta, BC.  Delta is a municipality just a few miles away from us!  We heard that this nest has a new baby chick too!

“David Hancock, has been studying bald eagles for over 50 years!”  He also has a webcam in Victoria, BC.

Going on a Bear Hunt!

There’s a bear over there… where?… THERE!!!

After seeing that LIVE bear in Nestor Park, we were inspired to learn more about the American Black Bear.  Thanks to Mrs. Boekhout’s neighbour, a big STUFFED bear came to visit our class.  He looked exactly like a real bear cub! (One of our custodians even borrowed the bear to give the teaching assistant a big fright, after he got a fright himself, when cleaning our desks after school!)

It was really interesting to learn the “bear facts” about this local wildlife.   We think we know why the real bear came to visit Nestor… there are lots of blackberries growing along the park edge, and he was probably trying to fatten up for his winter (partial) hibernation.  (Those are the same plant that Mrs. B. feeds to our walking stick insects!)  The bear we saw was almost as long as our whiteboard! (one and one-half meters) and probably had 4 cm. long claws!  By 6 months old, cubs weigh as much as we do in Grade 2! Most of us knew that bears are omnivores (eat meat and plants too), like humans, but we also learned that they are plantigrades, like humans… we both walk flat on our feet.  Bears are strong, run fast, swim well, and like to climb.  The famous white “B.C. Spirit Bear” is actually a kind of black bear!  Black bears are not all black (isn’t that funny!), they can be blonde, cinnamon, and brown too!

We also learned about BEAR SAFETY.  If you see a bear, don’t run away and don’t approach it.  STAY CALM! Speak softly so that the bear doesn’t get a surprise that someone is there. Back away slowly.  Get indoors.

Even though bears can be dangerous, we were still glad that we live in a community that values and welcomes nature!

Thank you, Mrs. C., for sharing YOUR bear with us!
We really felt he should have a name though.  Our classroom teddy bears are named StrawBEARy and BlueBEARy, so we decided to call your bear BlackBEARy, of course!  We hope you like his new name!