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Life in the Tidal Zone – Grade 1

Table of Contents

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Conceptual Scheme

Marine Aquaria


Successful Fieldtripping

Unit 1: Saltwater

   1. Salty Water
Students make salt water, taste it at different depths with a straw; then evaporate drops of salt and fresh water.

   2. Saltwater Floaters
Students sink an egg in a cup of freshwater; then add salt until the egg floats. They check the buoyancy of familiar objects – carrot, nut, pebble.

   3. Water as a Weight Lifter
Students test to see how heavy a bag of pebbles is when it is submerged, versus when not submerged.

Unit 2: Hermit Crabs

   1. Intertidal Tales
Students role play a beach visit practicing beach etiquette (turned stones should be turned back, animals should be left in their homes…) and more.

   2. Observing Hermit Crabs
Students observe live crabs move, hide, and scurry after food; then students enact crab behavior.

   3. Borrowed Shells
Students use literature, song and writing to examine how hermit crab adaptations help these animals meet the challenges of their habitat.

   4. Clothespin Claws
Students model foraging behavior before and after losing a clothespin claw, making bar graphs to gauge foraging efficiency.

Unit 3: Sea Anemones

   1. Sea Anemones
Students learn anemone anatomy, then enact anemone behaviors at high and low tide.

   2. Making Sea Anemones
Students design and build a paper anemone model that has retractable tentacles.

Unit 4: Barnacles

   1. Barnacles
Students observe live barnacles (or a film) dry (low tide), then submerged (high tide), and draw inferences from observations.

   2. Have or Do?
Students are asked to distinguish between barnacle structures (“Have”) and barnacle behaviors (“Do”).

   3. High and Dry
Students observe the desiccation of vegetables left in a dry pan (low tide), and compare with vegetables submerged in another pan (high tide).

   4. Drying on the Line
Students compare the drying rate of a folded paper towel to that of an unfolded paper towel, to explore the effects of animal shape on desiccation rate.

Unit 5: Limpets and Chitons

   1. Limpets and Chitons
Students observe differences between chitons and limpets, and infer the adaptive values of the differences.

   2. Hold On
Given an array of household items, students predict which items will be least affected by the force of waves; then test by spraying with a garden hose.

   3. Life on the Rocks
Students design a “holdfast” for a “limpet” (piece of sponge) and attach it to a fence. Designs are tested by throwing buckets of water on the “limpets”.

   4. Creating Chitons
Each student forms eight clay shell plates, and then overlaps them to form a model of a chiton.

Unit 6: Sea Stars

   1. Sea Stars
Students study diagrams of sea stars that show their parts, their variety, and how they eat clams.

   2. Sea Star Math
Counting by fives, students add the number of total rays in a group of sea stars.

   3. Creating Graphs
The great variety of sea animals provides a wonderful device for introducing representational graphs.

Unit 7: Octopus

   1. Octopus
Students form a “tentacle”, passing a “crab” from tentacle tip to octopus mouth, and also model octopus jet propulsion.

   2. Octopus Changes
Students draw an octopus using disappearing ink to model camouflage behavior.

Unit 8: Seaweeds

   1. Seaweeds Are Plants of the Sea
Students compare the form and function of seaweed to land plants. For locales with seaweeds, plans are included for “sun prints” and pressed seaweeds.

   2. Seaweed Anyone?
Students look for algin and other seaweed derivatives on food ingredient labels to learn that they are present in many common foods, such as ice cream.

   3. Interdependence
Students make paper models of land and sea based food chains; then assume the roles of sun, plants and animals and link together in a food web with yarn.

Unit 9: Tidepool Model

   1. Papier-mâché Tidepools
Students use their new knowledge of the sea and its life to construct a life-sized papier-mâché tidepool, populated with clay animals and plants.

Production Credits

Below, you’ll find helpful resources for use with the above activities.

Unit 1: Saltwater

Activity 1 Saltwater
Root words

Unit 2: Hermit Crabs

Activity 2 Observing Hermit Crabs
Hermit crab image

Unit 3: Sea Anemones

Activity 1 Sea Anemones
Sea anemone image
Green sea anemone image

Unit 6: Sea Stars

Activity 1 Sea Stars
Sea star images

Unit 8: Seaweeds

Activity 1 Seaweeds Are Plants of the Sea
Rocky coast algae images
Kelp forest image

Unit 9: Tidepool Model

Activity 1 Papier-mâché Tidepools
How to find marine information
Sample tidepool animals and plants

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