What is summer without a unit study about oceans? When my in-laws invited us for a quick beach get-away, I knew it would be a perfect culmination to this vast albeit fun and interesting topic. What began as a one-week lesson turned into a fun month of crafts, experiments and exploration.
We kicked off our unit study by reading Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. Part of the Five in a Row booklist, it is a lovely book about a young boy who finds a “treasure” by the shore. It turns out to be a glowing moonjelly which he releases back into the sea with the help of his grandmother.
Here’s how we enjoyed the book.
Taking out our globe and puzzle floor map, we discovered how the world is made up mostly of ocean. We identified the oceans that are nearest the Philippines.
With the help of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus, we took a dive into the ocean floor and saw how corals were made and how animals in the ocean work together to survive.
With the Energizer Bunny’s current interest in science, we did an experiment by putting out a bowl with pure water and a bowl with salt water out in the sun to observe what will happen.
Having already studied the water cycle, I asked the Energizer Bunny what she think will happen to the water. “It will melt!” she confidently said. It took around 3 days to finally see that she guessed otherwise. “Aaa! The water evaporated! And there’s salt! Is that how salt is made?” My little scientist.
Our sensory bin was refilled with aquarium pebbles and water, together with our ocean animal toys.
This was messy exploration fun! The Energizer Bunny was quite excited to ride the waves in the beach again so we made our own waves by putting the electric fan across our bin. She squealed in delight as she saw how bigger waves were formed as she made the fan blow stronger.
It being summer, I made sure to make this unit study light and fun by adding lots of arts and crafts in our days. Check out this cool marble seahorse art that we made from shaving cream and tempera paint!
We spent time exploring a new medium – the oil pastel – which was used by the illustrator of Night of the Moonjellies.
Finally, we put together this cute diorama from a shoebox and printouts of various ocean animals.
The highlight of our study, however, was seeing real moonjellies and other sea creatures when we visited Manila Ocean Park.
I love how Five in a Row has introduced us to the many possibilities of literature-based learning that even a simple trip to the beach can be made a learning experience.