Sea Shapes
Activity Guide


Teaching Ideas
to use with the book Sea Shapes by Suse MacDonald

The teaching ideas were composed by
ladene´ conroy

This curriculum guide is designed primarily for grades K - 3. There are also specifically identified teaching ideas for grades 4 & 5.

Star from Sea Shapes

Method: WHOLE &      SMALL GROUP

Approx. Time: 1 week

Activity #1

Content: ABC strategies and Vocabulary


Activity Title: Sea Life

Objective: The students are introduced to and become familiar with sea life and sea related activities. Around this theme students build vocabulary, expand reading and writing skills, and participate in art and music related activities.

Materials: 12 x 18 colored paper of assorted blue colors (for word wall), a blank big book with the alphabet (ABC's) on each page (blue), which is to become a sea related big book dictionary, colored markers, tubs of sea life books and a timer.

Activity:

Make a blank ABC book and word wall ready in the classroom. The teacher plays ocean sounds, Handel's water music or other water-related music as the children arrive. They join the teacher on the "meeting mat" to share their morning.

The teacher reads a poem or sings a song appropriate to the sea life theme, or asks students for songs or poems which they already know (or have learned through homework assignments).

References:

Sea Creatures

Sea Shapes

Suse MacDonald

Whales

Winter Whale

Joanne Ryder

Sea Creatures & Alphabet

The Ocean Alphabet Book

Jerry Pallotta

Counting

Ocean Parade

Pat MacCarthy

Oceanographers

Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor

J. Cole

Additional titles:

Hermit Crab

Is This A House For Hermit Crab?

Megan McDonald

Hermit Crab

House for Hermit Crab

Eric Carle

The students break into "water" groups. Each group has paper and one of the above books, and explores the book and other classroom materials. Each group makes posters about their subject. Note that this is an opportunity for the teacher to observe learning styles and skills for working cooperatively.

Students put sea related words in the blank ABC book. This develops vocabulary, knowledge and understanding about the theme.

The children then make and label sea life posters and share their understanding and comprehension of the book they used.

Start a collection of sea shells in the classroom. Divide bulletin board paper into a grid so the children can begin the classification process. Direct your students attention to the sea shell collection to see which of the shell fish under discussion are represented.

Variation: Take the book Sea Shapes by Suse MacDonald and explore the ABC possibilities that may come from the book to build vocabulary. Note: Some of this vocabulary may be beyond some K-2 students.

Aa
algae
anemones

Bb
bubbles
blue whale

Cc
currents
conch
cat fish

Dd
diving
dolphins

Ee
eel


Ff
floating
fish

Gg
grasses
gills

Hh
huge


Ii



Jj
jellyfish


Kk



Ll



Mm



Nn



Oo
ocean
octopus

Pp
porpoise
plants

Qq



Rr
ray


Ss
sea turtle
shell
shark
sand
starfish
sea horse
snails
scales
splashing

Tt



Uu



Vv



Ww
waving
whale
waves

Xx



Yy



Zz











The first time through the students should list the words they feel are relevant to the story as well as any from their own experiences. Talk to them about what it feels like in the ocean and about the plants and animals that live there.

Movement in the water and action words can be added to the ABC list with the teacher's help (action words outlined in the above example).

Method: WHOLE         GROUP

Approx. Time: 1 week

Activity #2

Content: Science and Research module

 

Activity Title: Getting To Know the Sea Creatures

Objective: The students identify and web the sea creature of their choice from a list provided by the word wall or they may draw a creature from the fish bowl*.

* The fish bowl is a glass or plastic fish bowl containing the names of the sea creatures to be researched.

As an example, the teacher uses the Hermit Crab as a demonstration sea creature and bases the presentation on the big book The Hermit Crab by Brian and Jill Cutting.

A dialog between the teacher and students should cover all the concepts that the teacher has identified as significant and might go as follows:

T.

How many of you have ever seen a crab?
Engage children in discussion about a crab or crabs and include:

  • where crabs might be found
  • physical description
  • behavior
  • T.

    Where have you seen them?

    S.R.

    Pet stores
    Beach
    Sand
    Creek
    Marsh

    T.

    What do you see when you look at a crab?

    S.R.

    Lots of legs
    Millions of legs
    Running fast
    Walking sideways
    Big eyes that look like beads
    Pincers (children may say pinchers)
    Claws

    T.

    When the crab hides or tries to get away from danger where do they go?

    S.R.

    Dig down into the sand
    Into a shell

    T.

    Today we are going to study one particular crab, the hermit crab.

    T.

    Look at the picture on the front of the book. What do you see?

    Ask children what they know and write ideas down on chart paper, then read the book and list facts about the hermit crab. Are the thoughts we first wrote down about the hermit crab true?

    List the student responses on the chart paper.

    Remind the students that there are fresh water habitats and salt water habitats.

    T.

    The hermit crab lives in rock pools. Look at pp. 2 and 3 of the book. What other things do we see living in the rock pools? Are there any creatures that we saw in our book Sea Shapes?

    star fish coral conch shells
    sea fans shrimp fish scales
    sand snail rocks

    T.

    What else do you see or recognize?

    T.

    Can you find the hermit crab?

    T.

    Do you know what a hermit is?

    Get the dictionary and have the word "hermit" tagged (or have a student find the word before the lesson).

    hermit: someone who lives alone or away from others

    T.

    How is this crab able to live like this with all of the other living and non- living things that you have named around him?

    The children probably figure out that the shell is his home and he must carry it with him so he can be alone when he chooses.

    On. pp. 4 and 5 of the book:

    T.

    (Read what it says out loud.) "The hermit crab has to find a new shell to live in. This is not easy."

    T.

    Why do you think the author says this is not easy? Why do you think the hermit crab needs a new shell?

    S.R.

    The crab is growing To get away from danger
    To be protected
    To be alone
    So no one bothers him

    The teacher may discuss items on the pages.

    T.

    Turn to pp. 6 and 7 of the book. Read these pages for me.

    T.

    Name some shell fish.

    S.R.

    Mussels
    Clams
    Oysters
    Crabs
    Snails

    T.

    Can we eat these? Are men harmful to these creatures? Discuss balance-in-nature.

    The teacher may want to have a person from a seafood store come in and bring samples of the various shellfish people buy to eat. A visit to a seafood store or a dock where fishermen come in with their catch is also a good idea.

    Remind your students that we have met other characters in stories who have had difficulty finding the right size: Goldilocks and The Three Bears by Jan Brett and Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. The children may also talk about their own clothing and how it fits.

    T.

    Why is size an important factor to this hermit crab?

    T.

    The crab is growing and he needs to have his home fit properly.

    T.

    Look at our shell collection. Do you see any shells that might be right for the hermit crab? When he was a baby? Or a little bigger? Or full- grown? Read pages 8 and 9 of the book.

    T.

    What are some dangers that animals have to be careful of in the sea? Fishermen, hunters, birds, sharks, trash, other big fish, etc.

    T.

    From looking at pp. 10 and 11 what is happening? (The sea gull sees the crab and wants it. The hermit crab is worried because he has grown too big and can not safely hide in the shell he has chosen)

    T.

    On pp. 12 and 13 the crab flees from the predator. The crab has decided not to give up and become the prey.

    T.

    Here are two new words: predator and prey

    The teacher will spend some time on these concepts and discuss the food chain cycle.

    The teacher may also want to spend time on camouflage with this story.

    This term can be explained fully using the pictures.

    Do you think the hermit crab will find a new shell that is the right size?

    Let's turn to pp. 14 and 15 of the book and find out. Examine the hermit crab closely for its own characteristics. What do you see?

    2 eyes

    brownish-tan in color

    4 whiskers or feelers

    2 sectioned-body

    6 fuzzy legs

    one claw looks bigger than the other

    2 claw legs

    shell not attached


    T.

    Turn to the page 16. How does the hermit crab look now?

    S.R.

    Safe, happy, content

    INDIVIDUAL OR PAIRED LEARNING:

    The teacher will have many names of sea creatures in the fish bowl and the students will now select one, alone or in pairs.

    Grades K - 3: Have the children find a picture of the sea creature they have selected:

    Draw the sea creature

    Draw the place it lives, it's habitat.

    Draw a picture of the creature with its babies.

    Grades 4 & 5: Give the students unlined note cards ( 4 x 6 or 5 x 7) to document the information they find about their sea animal. You may have the books checked out or you may want to arrange time in the library for the children to go and use the media center.

    Picture books are important as reference materials. The children need to see the animal they are researching.

    The teacher should have a model or other representation of the hermit crab on display for this exercise.

    Ideas for the fish bowl:

    mussel

    great white shark

    sea bass

    hermit crab (teacher)

    sperm whale

    sand crab

    oyster

    hump back whale

    blue crab

    shrimp

    jelly fish

    lobster

    clam

    dolphin

    crayfish

    sharks eyes snail

    porpoise

    scallop

    starfish

    sea turtle

    sail fish

    skate

    octopus

    mackerel

    eel

    catfish

    sword fish

    butterfly fish

    tuna fish

    sand shark


    Provide each student with a big piece of paper for the following assignment:

    1. Observe and read the teacher's example sea animal. (observation)
    2. Write a description specific enough to identify the sea creature each has chosen.
    3. Draw the sea creature.
    4. Describe in writing the habitat the sea creature lives in.
    5. List the predators of the sea animal and the animals that are its prey.
    6. Find out if the sea creature is a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore.

    Exercise: Have small groups make sea habitat scenes in boxes. This exercise should be simplified for grades K - 2 by having the whole class make one big habitat box together. Shirt boxes work well because they are not too deep. The habitat scenes should include the sea creature, sandpaper (to represent sand), tiny pebbles, small shells, and animals that represent stages in the food chain. As an example, the teacher can create a sample habitat box for the hermit crab and mount a seagull on top to show one of the crab's predators. Ask the children to label the things in their box so that the rest of the class can identify them. When the children finish cover the front of the box with blue saran wrap and tape the edges. Display them in the hall, the media center, or the classroom.

    Allow children time to look through Sea Shapes and The Hermit Crab and any other books you have shared with your class for ideas.

    Materials: (habitat boxes)

    • shirt boxes or bigger if the whole class is making one box
    • invisible thread or fishing line (suspend the fish from the roof of the box)
    • sandpaper (in different grains and colors; crayon covers it nicely)
    • blue saran wrap
    • scotch tape
    • tissue paper
    • foil
    • cardboard (to make labels for the sea creatures)
    • small shells/ pebbles

    Method: WHOLE GROUP

    Approx. Time: 1 week

    Activity #3

    Content: Math Strand Looking for Patterns and Geometry

    Objective: Have the students transform a common shape into a sea creature.

    The teacher provides colored markers and templates of all the shapes from the book, Sea Shapes.

    star
    circle
    semicircle
    square
    heart
    triangle

    spiral
    fan
    oval
    diamond
    crescent
    hexagon

    Select a page from Sea Shapes to use as an example. Use an overhead projector and trace the shape from the page. Show how by turning and manipulating the shape, it can be transformed into a sea creature.

    Now, ask the children to find other aspects of sea life where they see these shapes.

    Examples:

    heart

    fish's fin or whale's tail

    crescent

    moon shapes or waves curling towards shore


    Have each child select a template of the shape they want to work with to create their own sea picture.

    The children may decide they want to work with a combination of shapes.

    Math extension: problem solving

    This section will explore mathematical concepts by noting patterns and shapes. Using the sea facts pages at the back of the book, Sea Shapes, ask the following questions:

    • How many types of sea life are in the book?
    • How many times does each creature appear?
    • How many sea creatures are there without fins?
    • How many creatures have spirals as part of their shape?

    Make a simple graph to chart what shapes are most prevalent in the book: Due to size constraints, the graph below is incomplete. It can be expanded to include all the shapes and sea creatures shown in the book.

     

    butterfly fish

    snail

    jellyfish

    shark

    sea turtle

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

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    1




    Method: PAIRS or        INDIVIDUAL

    Approx. Time: 1 week

    Activity #4

    Content: Research Skills and Independent Project

    Objective: To develop a facility for writing. Grades 4 & 5

    The students should first read Sea Shapes and then select a creature from the book to use for the following activities:

    Research Module: "Sea Watch Reporting"

    Objective: To create a TV or radio report. The students' role is that of a reporter. Each student should select several news casts or informational shows and listen to how a professional broadcaster would make such a report. Each student should then select a sea creature on which to report for his or her radio or TV show. The teacher assembles books and magazines for the students to use in their research.

    Activity: Write a news report on a specific environmental problem such as:

    • how the ecosystem is being affected by a local pollution issue.
    • global warming
    • growth of the red tide

    Extension in writing and reading: (Modeled thinking, writing, and reading).

    Each student draws and/or finds photographs of the sea creature they have chosen and writes alliterative phrases about it.

    Examples:

    • Six small slimy snails slowly slid silently out of sight.
    • Whalers watched the wandering whales in the water.
    • A dozen dainty dolphins dove deep down into the depths.

    Select a page from the book, Sea Shapes and write a story from a variety of points of view. Use the whale page as an example:

    • What was the whale feeling?
    • What were the small fish thinking?
    • Is a storm coming?
    • Why is the red and black trigger fish hiding in the grass at the bottom of the page?

     

    Method: INDIVIDUAL

    Approx. Week 1

    Activity #5

    Content: WRITING PROMPT 
    IDEAS

    Grades 4 & 5

    During the ABC Strategies and Vocabulary section each student is asked to write an story or design a poster or logo based on the activities of the classroom during the week. The following prompts offer some ideas for this project.

    Kinds of Writing

    Example of Prompt

    issue/ persuasion

    Design a poster and logo that illustrates
    endangerment of a sea creature.
    or
    Write a letter to the editor sharing your
    dismay about the beach conditions
    where you live and/ or your dismay over
    the inadequate protection of the sea life
    in the vicinity.

    fantasy

    Write a story about a few of the sea
    shapes from Suse's book and their adventures
    in the ocean. (dialogue is optional)

    mystery

    Write the beginning chapter to a
    realistic fiction piece using the ocean as
    the setting. Use clever descriptions to
    set the mystery tone for the story.

    letter/ or post card

    Write a letter/ or post card to a friend or
    relative and share the kinds of sea
    creatures you saw while on your
    vacation. You could have been
    scuba diving, snorkeling, looking in
    tide pools or riding in a glass
    bottom boat. Include the equipment you
    needed for such an adventure.

    Your comments on the use of these materials will be welcome. Please contact Suse MacDonald with any thoughts, photographs or results.

    This activity sheet is copyrighted by ladene conroy but may be photocopied for your colleagues.

    All content copyright © 2013 Suse MacDonald. All rights reserved except where noted.
    www.susemacdonald.com