Thursday, May 15, 2014

All About Ocean Life

It's so crazy to be writing a post right now about our LAST SCIENCE UNIT OF THE YEAR....!!!!

It's that time though. We're going under the sea to learn all about Ocean Life.

If you saw my Insect Unit, you know my students were getting mail for awhile from an Entomologist named Eddie. They were a little bummed out when we stopped getting letters. But they sure noticed right away when the mailbox flag went up again this week! Inside was our first letter from Ollie, the Marine Biologist.

Ollie introduced himself then presented us with a task he needed help with, classification. Ollie sent us eight ocean animal photographs from his studies. He said he needed help classifying them. I went ahead and set us this little display above our ocean books.

As we learn more about each animal through our own studies, we move the pictures under the correct classification. So not only are they learning more about each animal, they also know the difference between fish, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates.

After we've sorted them all, we will write Ollie letters, and see how he responds! ;)

We're also diving into lots and lots of shared research with this unit. Which happens to be one of those CCS Writing standards. Not that you'd ever know because my kids are SO into ocean animals, it's insane. Perhaps it has something to do with Colorado being a land locked state, and thus the ocean and everything in it is still a big ol' mystery to many of my kiddos.

For every animal Ollie asked us to classify, we record information about them in our research journals. Right now our room is loaded with non-ficition books on the ocean and everything in it.

{Sharks, always a favorite. Love love love the images in these books!}

These are just a handful of the books floating around the room right now. A lot are mine and a lot are from our school library. Together, there are more than enough to go around.When you can't bring kids to the ocean, books are the best way I know of to bring the ocean to them. Even though we spend a lot of time learning about ocean animals, I also want them to learn about the different layers of the ocean too. This book is hands down my all time favorite for information about the ocean layers.  I mean let's be real, the Friz know her stuff!

Something new I tried out was making a jellyfish in a bottle.

{I think I tried about 100 times to catch an "action shot" for you. Ha! That jelly moves fast!!}

This is everything need to make one. I followed the directions in this video, here. My first attempt was a flop. The second time I cut the tentacles much thinner (than the one pictured above.) and followed the instructions of the video to not have more than 10-15. Which made jellyfish number two a much bigger success. I haven't introduced it to the class yet, jellyfish are coming up next week! They are going to want to get their hands all over it.

Another fun activity is making these little Octopus crafts. We make these every year. This is a picture from one of my cuties two years ago showing off their creation. Just ask parents to send in extra toilet paper rolls and add a little paint. Easy, but always a crowd pleaser with the kiddos!

The Ocean Life Unit is packed with text passages and questions for close reading, vocabulary cards, an experiment, graphing, writing, and crafts.

{Text Passages, Maps, Pictures from Ollie}

{Inference Craftivity is possibly my favorite.}

{Vocabulary cards to display}

  Check it out in my TPT shop. You can download the preview for an even closer look.
  Have fun diving into your underwater adventures!!


  1. Looks wonderful! My students would love these activities!

  2. Just bought this! I can't wait to use it with my kids! It looks so fun! :)

  3. Your kids are going to LOVE that! Look like so much fun!

  4. I love this product. You rock!

  5. Can I ask what program you use to make these resources? They're amazing!