Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ocean Theme ~ Part 1

In addition to our Core Lessons, we had an excellent time learning about the Oceans. It's a vast subject and I wasn't sure where to being.  I was thrilled to find the Sea Searchers Handbook to give some spine to our studies. I went through the online book and selected several units, then got some supporting books from the library.  These were all terrific!!  We learned about Wind and Waves, Tides, Crabs and Food Webs.  I don't have pictures of everything because I was playing too!  Here's one though....

Tides to Siphon:  Here we are learning about Tides. We added rocks, gravel, plastic sea creatures to our tub, then filled it with 4 large bowls of water to simulate High Tide. As it filled, we talked about which creatures were getting covered by the water and which ones were out. We used a plastic lid to make waves and see how it lapped up over the tallest rocks.  Then we siphoned the water out to simulate the tide receding.  That's when the tide learning stopped and the "how a siphon works" learning began. He was SO interested in his. He would raise and lower the end to watch the flow slow and speed up. He would add air to make it stop and have me restart it.  Eventually we went back to the low tide and tide pool discussion, but the highlight was siphoning!

Ocean Words ~ Turbo loved reading each of these during the day as the mood struck.  It also helped to remind him what he learned and would spark questions.  He mostly wants to know about "what does it eats and who eats it." He ends up using the vocabulary frequently in conversations. Adorable.

Tide Pool Fan
This was so fun! Turbo got to cut, glue and hole punch.  He did a great job with the hole punching too! It's from here.

Commotion on the Ocean Fun! 
What I Learned book
Each day I read an ocean book to Turbo and he would recount something he learned from it and draw a picture.  Drawing and coloring have not been favorite things for him, so I wondered how he'd like this. He had a great attitude and enjoyed it.  You can see he used the Tide Pool Fan as a reference point for his drawing. He had a hard time grasping what I wanted initially, then worried that he couldn't draw a good picture. A little encouragement and he did a great job!
We also did several other parts of that unit. The graphing with tricky pieces thrown was huge fun around here. Turbo loved to identify all the tricky pieces before we got started and used them for a different activity later.  We did the Ocean labeling, Schema and Devotion to the Ocean. There's still so much more here for another go-round!

Does and Egg float in water or saltwater?  We tested the eggs and completed a little booklet.  The egg does indeed float in saltwater. Turbo thought that was very cool.  Then we poured out half of the salt water and added the fresh water.  Can you guess what happened? It floated in the middle - under the fresh water and on top of the salt water.    

Blubber Test
After our ocean visit where the water was quite cold, we read about whales.  Naturally the question "How do they stay in that freezing water so long" came up. So we did an unplanned experiment to explain.  Take one bowl of icy water, 2 ziplock bags and 1 container of Crisco and you've got your very own blubber experiment.  They first put their hand in the icy water until it was reeaaalllly cold - about 45 seconds for Turbo.  Then we put the Crisco in a ziplock to simulate the blubber.  We didn't want greasy fingers so we covered our hand with a second ziplock.  Then into the blubber and into the icy water.  "WOW!! Where's the cold" was the response.  You couldn't feel the cold at all for at least several minutes!  Very fun experiment.

Circle Time Activities
  • Rhymes ~ She Sells Seashells; A sailor went to sea;
  • Reviewed the Oceans on the globe
  • Sang Oceans songs - My Bonnie, I'm a little fishy, Take me out the Ocean, and the very favorite "Did you ever see a fishy". We ran around to the songs, but this one kept us running the most.  
  • Videos from Monterey Bay Aquarium
Pretend Play
Pretend to sell seashells

Nature Table
Shells and Magnifying Glass was a huge hit.

Books ~ Oh my! We read tons of books these two weeks. I began reading to them during dinner and they LOVE it.  It also helps dinner time go smoother ~ less goofing, chattering and such.  More eating, listening and talking. (yes, there's a huge difference between chattering and talking!)  All the titles are downstairs right now so I'll do another post.

Resources ~  It get time consuming to post links on each item when there's so much overlap. I will absolutely do that when I have time.  Since I won't post without the link-backs, I wanted to at least get them in the easiest way.
Balanced Literacy Unit - Commotion on the Ocean - Great resource with TONS of stuff. We did several things and will go back for more next go-round.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Teachers Place - The Sea Searchers Handbook and online videos were a key part of our theme learning.
Learningpage.com, Kidsparkz.com ~ We used theme printables from these sites.  (If you're looking, I didn't post about them.)


Here's our Weekly Wrap Up post and Stay tuned for another post with our Books, Art, Games and Outings!!   (Updated: links to related posts)

Linking to: Preschool Corner

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