Monday, June 19, 2017

Oceans and Coasts Mini-Unit Schedule and Lesson Plan

It's always fun to do a little studying about a place before you go there, so even though we didn't have much time to spare, we squeezed in a quick mini-unit about Oceans and Coasts before our summer trip to Oregon this year. I was glad we did, because—I don't know what it was, maybe it was just the fact that we were staying by a bay where the tides were very obvious, or maybe it was because we'd read a bunch of books about them—but the tides and tide pools were fascinating to all of us in a way they haven't been before. I could have sat by the upstairs window of our rental house and watched the patterns of the tide ALL DAY. I loved hearing the difference in sound when the tide was in versus when it was out: crashing waves when it was high, and quiet lapping (thanks to a sandbar that shielded the bay somewhat) when it was low. Beautiful.
We mostly read lots of books for this unit, as there was preparation and packing to do, but we did do a few fun activities.

One was making these ocean layers bottles. Here is one version (probably better than the one we did—but we've done this one before to learn about density, here) and here is another more like we did this time. They're so pretty!
I let the kids make models of the ocean layers on Cookie Pizza. We used pictures like this for reference. (If something can be modeled on a cookie, we will model it.) Here's our favorite recipe for Cookie Pizza (it's basically just sugar cookie dough, although occasionally I use snickerdoodle dough instead). We made frosting of different shades and then the children used chocolate chips and whatever else we could scrounge up to make fish, seaweed, phytoplankton, and so forth. Obviously this would be cuter if you used Swedish fish or something.
We totally overcooked this one. It should be much paler. But the children ate it anyway. Note the deep, dark Mariana Trench at the bottom right of the picture. Also the condensation, forming clouds above the ocean.
That big chocolate candy in this representation is a blobfish. My children were very taken with the blobfish when we learned about it. Though, it probably should be a blue whale if we are taking the scale of things into account. Of course, this isn't the whole ocean…just a cross section.
I like the white bioluminescent fish down in the deeper layers of Abe's ocean.
A few more things we enjoyed:

This page about tides, and also these. Here are pictures of our visits to the tide pools during this Oregon trip.

A couple of our books trotted out the "floating island of plastic" myth. Here are a couple sources debunking that. Too bad this hyperbole risks obscuring the real problem of ocean litter.

We'd never heard of "Velella velella" or "By-the-wind-sailors" before (they're sort of like tiny jellyfish) but we enjoyed these videos of them washing up on Oregon beaches!

Bioluminescent Plankton (more on bioluminescence here with our Light Unit)

Short video about puffins (we like puffins)

After we saw clams squirting on the beach at Netarts Bay, we got really curious about them (we've never seen live clams before!) and found these videos.

We also got interested in sand dollars (we'd never really thought about what, exactly, they ARE!). Junie found a spinier one on the beach and we wondered why it looked different—the video says how you tell if they're alive or dead.

Here's my Oceans Unit Pinterest Board

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