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?


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?


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?

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.

HighTech Science and “Earthworks”

It’s dark, it’s mucky, it’s under your fingernails!… Do you go “Yuck”? Do you head for the soap and water? NO WAY! You slip on your white lab coat, take out a magnifying glass, and stroke your chin saying, “Verrrrry interesting!”

You’re a scientist called a Geologist!

Today we got the chance to transform our classroom into “Particle Pete’s Science Lab”! As Scientists we knew we had to notice EVERYTHING, using all of our senses. (Oh… except for the sense of taste, that could be dangerous!) We learned how to “waft” a scent towards our noses and how to do the Scientist Safety Signal with our fingers in the air. Good scientists have good questions, curiosity, and imagination… but they need to LISTEN when the Head Scientist is talking!

We learned that the 4 ingredients of life are sun, water, air, and soil. Did you know that the sun is 4.6 BILLION years old and is about 149 MILLION kilometers away? Our first experiment showed how Solar Energy can be transformed into Mechanical Energy. It was such a rainy day that we needed to use a light, but we still were able to get the little windmill to turn. Then we did our own Water Cycle experiment. We made our little “clouds” soak up the water into the sky and then “rain down” again! The AirZooka was a BLAST (of AIR, that is!) High and low pressures make the air move to different places. That’s how we get wind!

Then we had to use our best observation skills to check out the different parts of soil: rocks, sand, silt, and humus. Did you know that it takes the Earth 500 years just to make 1 inch (3 cm.) of soil? We put them all together into a mini-mountain and used pipettes to “drop the rain” onto them. It didn’t take much for us to see the power of erosion by water! We also checked out the “holding capacity” of the different materials. Rocks let the water run through – that would make the ground too dry for plants to grow well. Clay wouldn’t let water through at all – that would drown plants! It’s important for good soil to have all the different components… especially the rich, nutritious humus.

Finally we had to chance to check out some of the Earth’s most important “soil creatures”… earthworms! They are a lot bigger than our classroom red wiggler compost worms, and they aren’t nearly as shy!

Particle Pete” gave us a great Science Workshop and he was a fun guy too (he even taught us a Water Cycle song!)
Thanks to “High Tech Science” for a great learning experience!





Here’s a fun idea… Hightouch Hightech Science is running SUMMER SCIENCE CAMPS!   You can also book a Scientist to come to a Birthday Party!

Classroom Energy Diet Challenges… what Amazing Learning!

The Classroom Energy Diet Activities Challenge and Video Challenge have now drawn to a close.  We may or may not win any “prizes”, but we certainly have done TONS of learning in ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS, SOCIAL STUDIES, SCIENCE, MATH… and also in CO-OPERATION, HELPING EACH OTHER, and… FILM  PRODUCTION!  We also had a lot of FUN in the LEARNING!

Mrs. Boekhout is thrilled to see how the class has been more aware of  how THEY can MAKE A DIFFERENCE by simple acts like recycling, thinking about how they can use less energy, and SHUTTING THE DOOR on cold days!  (Hmmm… didn’t Mrs. Boekhout originally join this challenge because Classroom2Kids could never remember to shut the door???)

Mrs. Boekhout and Classroom2Kids would like to thank Canadian Geographic and Shell Canada, and especially Ellen Curtis for her wonderful support in times of  technical disasters, for this amazing learning experience and the chance to show that even “LITTLE KIDS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE” to help our planet!

Here are some of our photos “along the way” !!!

 A huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported us!



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!



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???




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.