This week we began a new unit on tide pools. As some of my students have never visited the ocean, the first day we watched a few YouTube videos to build some schema.
That first day, we learned how tides and waves worked.
I used a squishy ball to illustrate the bulge of the ocean so that my students could really see how high and low tide works. This, along with the video, helped my students understand why the two tides occur daily. We also created “wave bottles” to further illustrate the waves going in and the waves coming out.
To do this, we used empty water bottles, water, blue food coloring, and baby oil. First, my students filled up their water bottles about half way with water and then added three drops of blue food coloring.
Next, they filled the rest of the bottle with baby oil and wiped down the bottle.
Once the bottle was wiped down, my students observed the waves that their bottles formed. These bottles created a great discussion on how waves work!
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we learned about some of the animals that live in a tide pool. Our favorites were the blood sponge, sea urchin, octopus, and sea stars. We read a few books to learn more about the animals.
After we had a good idea of what the habitat looked like and the animals that lived there, we created our own!
We used two paper plates for this craft. I used a really thick paper plate for the background and a flimsy one for the beach part. (It is easier to cut the flimsy ones and the thick plate made the watercolors look amazing!)
This craft took two days to complete. First, we painted the water. My students were very careful to add different shades of blue to make their tide pools look realistic.
Then they cut out the section for the beach from the flimsy paper plate. They painted the entire thing with white Elmer’s glue and then sprinkled sand all over it.
On Wednesday, after the glue and sand had dried, my students drew tide pool animals on white card stock using Sharpies. They water colored and cut them out, and then glued them to their tide pools. To complete the project, they helped me superglue the two plates together.
During writing in the afternoons, they wrote about what they did and we hung up their finished products.
On Thursday, we continued our unit with a few books and tide pool videos.
On Friday, my students were in for a special surprise. I had gone to the pet store and bought two hermit crabs for new additions to our classroom. When my students walked in, they were greeted with books about crabs and hermit crabs and a new aquarium. They were SO EXCITED.
During our morning meeting, I brought the aquarium to the center of our circle and as a class, we learned this amazing creature that lives in a tide pool! As we passed around the hermit crabs, my students came up with so many great questions about hermit crabs. This created a wonderful discussion and hands-on activity.
We then enjoyed the book “House For Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle.
As a literacy center that day, my students were able to glue Hermit Crab’s new friends onto his shell as a literacy center.
We also created a Post It Note “can, have, are” for hermit crabs.
I love using the three different colored Post It Notes for these writing activities.
After specials and recess, my students had one last surprise in store. I wanted my students to really experience the difference between a hermit crab and a crab so I had gone to Whole Foods and got a whole crab to show my students. (If you are ever looking for crustaceans, make sure you check out Whole Foods. The man at the seafood counter was SO KIND and gave me the crab FOR FREE because I was a teacher using it in my lesson!!)
I brought out the crab and my students were in complete awe.
We passed him around carefully looking at the exterior anatomy of the crab. My students were able to discover that crabs have 10 legs and where the pinchers were located. They were fascinated by the eyes and the mouth of the crab. Most of all, they loved the claws.
I wish that I recorded this entire lesson because it was so much fun to watch my students explore, discuss, and talk about the crab. One student asked, “Miss Smith, how does it breathe?!” So, I popped open the crab to show them the gills! They were
disgusted fascinated completely and utterly engaged during the dissection and asked and figured out so many facts about crabs due to this hands-on lesson.
“Can we touch the gills?”
“Yes! Absolutely you can!”
“Really?! Ah! It’s Cold! They are squishy! The gills feel feathery! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!”
“Can I wash my hands?”
*insert laughter* “Yes!”
“Open it again!! What is that? Can we get the magnifying glass?”
“I love this!!!”
After this, we compared and contrasted hermit crabs to the crab we dissected. Who says you can’t do dissections with kindergarteners?! They LOVED it!!!!
Next week we will continue learning about ocean life and explore sharks, jellyfish, and sea turtles! Make sure you come back soon because I found some incredible *free* resources to go along with these lessons!!
This blog post includes affiliate links to the picture books used during the unit as a convenience for you!