Ocean Invertebrates Unit

Friday, June 26, 2015
I usually end the school year with an ocean unit.  We begin by learning that 70% of the earth is covered by water, so learning about the plants and animals that live in the ocean seems like a good idea.  I have the kids paint the ocean water first.  This is very messy and very fun.  I give them green, turquoise, blue and purple paints and sponge brushes.  The kids have to dab the paint onto the paper.  They race to fill in the empty spots.  I love that every year my ocean looks different (just like the kids who painted it).

ocean bulletin board

After we get the water finished, I put it on a bulletin board.  I add some sand on the bottom (brown paper) and this year for the first time,  I added some blue sky above the water  (I like to mix things up every now and then to keep it interesting).  Then we talked about the food chain and we learned that their are plants at the bottom of every food chain, so the kids asked me to add plants to our ocean.

Now that our ecosystem is ready, we need to figure out what animals to add.

We watched a Magic School Bus movie about the coral reef.  The movie showed many different animals that lived around the reef.  So of course, we had to make coral to add to our ocean.  To do this, I let the kids choose red or orange construction paper.  I used 12x18inch sheets and the kids traced their hands and arms all the way from fingertips to elbow.  They could fit two hands on a sheet.  They cut them out and we began building our coral reef.

Isn't it pretty?  Now we are ready for some other animals.  Since we are studying animals that sting (like coral polyps) we made anemones and jellies.  The anemones have stingers that point upwards and the jellies stingers hang down.  Here are close up pictures of those animals added to the ocean.

sea anemone craft and activity

jelly fish activity

We also made crabs, sea urchins and sea stars.  

sea star craft

Here is our finished ocean bulletin board.  Isn't it beautiful?
The kids loved learning about each ocean animal and the hands-on craft really helped them remember the important things about each animal.  Each day that we completed an animal, I would add them to the bulletin board the next morning before school.  It was so fun to watch the kids drag their parents over to the board first thing and look to see where their  animal might be.  They would tell their parents all about the animal.  

Ocean Invertebrates bulletin board

If you are interested in doing this in your classroom, you can purchase my unit on my TpT store.  It contains close reads about the animals as well as comprehension sheets.  The directions for making each component are also included.  You will be amazed at how much your kids learn about the ocean invertebrates.

We also study fish and marine mammals.   You can see the sea horses and Girabaldi swimming along with the invertebrates and plants.


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