Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Whale of an Ocean Study

We just finished up our Ocean study...and when I say "just" I mean probably three weeks ago.  It was thoroughly enjoyable....  the kids did lots of art projects, we fixed crab legs one night (first time any of us had ever eaten them :), listened to a steel drums cd, watched some ocean movies, and completed a lapbook and a file folder "ocean zones" accordion.  I had really wanted to get an empty refrigerator box, stand it up vertically, cut one side off,  paint the zones inside, and add ocean life pictures to each zone.  Well, I didn't get one...but, I still wanted to do something very "visual" with the zones.  I decided to put  files together with shipping for each zone.  I added one for the Intertidal Zone even though technically, it isn't an ocean layer.  I printed off numerous graphics from the internet to put in each layer.  It ended up being a pretty cool accordion.... the kids enjoyed figuring out which layer the assorted plants and animals belonged to and pasting them in.  Here's a couple of pictures of the completed accordion:

 The completed accordion...  there is a file for each ocean layer...and one for the Intertidal Zone.

Inside the Sunlit Zone file..  the remaining files were completed in the same manner.

The lapbook completed was relatively large.  I used Great Science Adventures Oceans and also some graphics from using the "Atlantic" unit.   In addition, I made some of my own graphics and art projects.
The completed lapbook:

This is the front of Sarah's....she's like her momma...she likes her stickers... :)

The inside of Malachi's..

And one more:
Having noticed the Pagoo booklet in this picture, I have to tell you that Pagoo by Holling C. Holling is one of the BEST books I have ever read with the kids...  OMGOSH!  It's like a complete study of hermit crabs (and other ocean life) all wrapped up in an interesting story. I kid you book ever for an ocean unit study.  Oh, and we did some origami...a green sea turtle and a fish.  And just so you know, my oldest son loves origami...which came in handy....since as I was instructing them on how to make the green sea turtle, I totally confused them (and myself) and my son had to step in and straighten out the mess. :D

We did a few art projects that the kids truly enjoyed.  One of which was a corn syrup octopus painting... we even chopped rice in half and put them on the artwork, after learning that octopus eggs are that size.  Corn syrup painting is awesome!  You just add food coloring to light corn syrup and Voila! ...a nice shiny paint.  :)

These are the completed pictures ...aren't they all cute and shiny??  And yeah...I did get Isaac's little corn syrup handprints...because aren't a three year old's hands *always* sticky?  ;)

They painted seahorses with watercolors and added some tissue paper seagrass. 
Another fun art project was to paint a starfish yellow and sprinkle cornmeal on top while the paint was wet.  It ended up having a very nice texture and the three year old really loved playing in the cornmeal..  :D

I think I enjoyed the study as much as the kids did.  I came away feeling more amazed than ever at the handiwork of God....  in awe of the order in which all living things live .... and truly fascinated by the creativity and color of it all <3  Our animal/nature studies are definitely some of my favorites :)


  1. Thank you SO much for posting your ocean study/lapbook. It looks fantastic! I do have one question ... I'd love to do the seahorse art project with my students. Where did get the gorgeous seahorse image for it?

  2. Hi, Clementine :)
    It would've been nice had I recorded where I found these pictures :) I'll keep that in mind with future studies. I think I used the seahorse found here:

    and the smaller seahorse found here:

    on the smaller one, we discussed the anatomy first and then cut it out.

    hope this helps! what age group are you doing? homeschooled or public school? love sharing educational tips!