Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heading to Ocean - Part Two

What do I do next?

After deciding on the areas we would address in our study, I would start selecting appropriate resources from the Reference Resources section of the study. (This list contains numerous books for the various outline sections, including the grade level suggestions, publisher information, etc.)

Choosing Resources 

Here are some suggestions of what I might choose to investigate their questions and interests:
Fish, Shark, and Whale, all from the Eyewitness Books Series, Grades 4–12. Published by Alfred A. Knopf (Subsidiary of Random House).

Let's Investigate Slippery, Splendid Sea Creatures, by Madelyn W. Carlisle, (Let's Investigate Series), Grades 3–7. Published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Don't Blink Now! Capturing the Hidden World of Sea Creatures, by Ann Downer, (New England Aquarium Books), Grades 5–8. Published by Franklin Watts.

How Did We Find Out About Life in the Deep Sea?, by Isaac Asimov, Grades 4–7. Published by Walker & Company.
Strange Eating Habits of Ocean Creatures, by Jean Sibbald, Grades 4–8. Published by Silver Burdett, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Deep-Sea Vents: Living Worlds Without Sun, by John F. Waters, Grades 5 and up. Published by Dutton Children’s Books, Division of Penguin USA.
We will begin reading through these, both together as a family and as the children read and study them on their own.

In addition to reference resources that will help us learn more about sea life, I usually select some classic reading material that we can all enjoy. Looking under Reading Resources, I see that Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway would be good choices to read together over the study. During a unit study, the children read plenty of fiction that relates to the topic, and here are some titles that they might like from the list:
Trapped at the Bottom of the Sea, by Frank Peretti, (Cooper Kids Adventure Series), Grades 4–7. Published by Crossway Books, Division of Good News Publications.

Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell, Grades 3–7. A Dell Yearling Book, published by Dell Publishing Co.

The Lighthouse Mystery, by Gertrude C. Warner, (Boxcar Children Mysteries Series), Grades 2–7. Published by Albert Whitman and Co.
Selecting Activities
Now that we have our reference and reading materials selected, it is time to begin planning some of the hands-on fun from activities included in the Activities sections. I always try to choose some that are "pre-made" (coloring books, models, simple projects that require minimal assembly) as well as some that we do all on our own. From the resources of pre-made activities:
The Ocean Book: Aquarium and Seaside Activities and Ideas for All Ages, by the Center for Marine Conservation Staff, Grades PreK–6. Published by John Wiley & Sons

The Marine Biology Coloring Book, by Thomas Nielsen, Grades 7–12. Published by Harper Collins.

Dover Coloring:
Whales and Dolphins, by John Green
Sharks of the World, by Llyn Hunter
Tropical Fish, by Stefan Bernath
Fishes of the North Atlantic, by Thomas C. Quirk, Jr.
Along with these activities, we would also work on some from the Activities Suggestions section. One of these recommends using fishing to supplement this study. Whether freshwater or saltwater fishing, there is so much that can be learned by spending time out with a fishing pole and a bucket of bait. The successes of different kinds of bait (natural and man-made), the concept of the food chain, the battle to catch a fish, as well as all of the fun to be had while watching life in the water are all part of the fishing experience. The students can track their progress in fishing over the summer by keeping a fishing journal, detailing the variety of places that they try, the types of bait and results, the time of day, and other factors. In the journal, they can also describe their catches, possibly sketching the whole fish as well as the anatomy of the fish if they dissect their catches!

Internet Sites to Complement the Study

We realize that there are good and bad sides of the Internet as there are with any other resource, we have spent the time searching out "safe" sites that would add value to the learning experience, and they've been included in each of our studies. Our internet links are maintained and update continually, so your study never looses it's value!

Having been born and raised in Florida, I have spent much of my life within the sound of the surf and the call of the seagulls, and I find it difficult to function when I stay away too long! In this study, I have tried to share this broad and exciting learning experience with you—the history, the marine life, the explorers, the shipwrecks, the shells, and of course the sights and sounds we experience as we walk along in the sand. I hope this article will help you see a small portion of the learning potential with USAB studies.

Grab a towel, a pail and shovel, throw some sand in the back yard, and come join the quest. As always, enjoy the adventure!

Amanda B.

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