Sunday, 30 August 2015

Coral, jellyfish and seahorses: Learning about the oceans


It looks like a new interest is emerging around here: Ocean life. It all started when Finn spotted the children's book "Old Shell, New Shell" (by Helen Ward) in a charity shop and wouldn't leave without it. I highly recommend it by the way. It tells the story if a hermit crab looking for a bigger shell. The illustrations are very realistic, picturing an incredible number of different sea creatures. The last few pages at the back of the book give the name of each and every animal pictured, as well as a few facts. 

Old Shell, New Shell by Helen Ward

This book naturally led to him making connections with another book we own and that I have mentioned previously on here, "Skeleton" by Steve Parker. He excitedly showed me the double page with pictures of crustaceans, asking me to read the words to him. We talked about animals with their skeleton inside their body (humans), outside their body (crabs) and animals with no skeleton (jellyfish).
 
He was interested in shells in particular, what they are, where they come from. We compared the shells in our collection and I explained how one shell (of a scallop for example) is actually just one half of the complete shell. We tried to pair our specimens with their matching halves. We then researched how molluscs eat and how they use their shell. We talked about the difference between crustaceans and molluscs.
 
 
He took a special interest in starfish and tried to figure out where their mouth is. I let him figure out how to find out that fact and he did find it in one of our books.
 
 
We also talked about coral reefs, the location and names of the world's oceans, how fish and shellfish consumption damages the eco-system, food chains, food webs, life cycles, different reproduction techniques used by sea creatures, why a seahorse is a fish, why it is dark at the bottom of the ocean, and so much more. This boy is so curious!


Fish by Sabine Krawczyk
Under the sea, by Kate Davies
 













His interest for this fish skeleton puzzle was renewed.


He also enjoys this brain teaser puzzle, which has a fish theme.


A few more things I'm planning on offering him on the topic of oceans:

- Watching  Big Blue UK about Seashores (available on BBC Iplayer until 26th sept if you are in the UK)
- Making a plastic bag jellyfish
- Learning about ocean zones 

And as usual, he'll lead the way as well!

8 comments:

  1. Hi,

    In case he veers toward marine food webs you might find this resource useful
    http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/education-resources/whos-eating-who

    When I did my search though to pull that address back up, who's eating who, I also saw what seemed to be a UK based antarctic resource covering the same topic. It seemed to be more interactive and computer based depending on your preferred learning style.

    Happy Learning
    Belinda

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    1. Thank you very much Belinda, it looks great!

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  2. Old Shell, New Shell looks like a beautiful book - no wonder Finn wanted to keep it! I'm so inspired by the way you are supporting Finn by following his interests and guiding him to make his own discoveries! Elise is asking a million questions lately, and I really have to remind myself not to just automatically answer and to find ways to let her make her own discoveries - whether they match what I think or not! I finally found an online shop in the US that sells the zoology puzzles with the skeletons underneath - would you still recommend them? The fish puzzle looks so cool!

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    Replies
    1. I think it's hard at first not to reply automatically because it's such an ingrained habit, but all habits can be changed! My new habit when Finn asks a question is to reply with "I wonder that too..." or "shall we find out?" It is so worthwhile when you see that they start relying more on themselves and less on you to answer their own questions. Yes, I would absolutely recommend the skeleton puzzles. They are such a clever ressource to have.

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  3. Elsa!!! How I missed you and reading about Finn! This makes me so excited for me and Cara as well.

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  4. Hi Elsa,

    Been thinking about you guys. I know you're generally based in the UK but with close ties to France. Hope all of you and yours are doing ok.

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

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    Replies
    1. Belinda, Thank you so much for your thoughtful message. For some reason I only saw it last night. We are quite shattered by the events in Paris but doing ok. My family is on the south coast. I really appreciate your message.
      I hope you are doing fine as well?

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  5. Hi Elsa,

    It's been a good but busy time. I got the last must do done from my list so I will now allow myself to slow down a little and do my best to drink in this last week or so before my little guy turns 4.

    Best wishes for the holiday season
    Kind Regards
    Belinda

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