Ocean

More than 70% of the Earth is covered by oceans. Vast and wonderful, they are habitat to many interesting species. Here are some ideas on how to explore the oceans and their creatures with the children.

pink bubble snail

Nature play: Observing sea animals

Camouflage, communication, classification, counting: Being immersed in nature is a great opportunity to observe, ask questions, form hypotheses and learn about STEM concepts.

giant Pacific octopus swimming in the ocean

Comparing physiologies: Giant Pacific octopuses

Children can have some interesting perspectives on what is inside them. Cultural perceptions can also make a huge difference. Why not investigate their prior knowledge by starting a conversation about the biology of the Pacific octopus or another sea creature they have studied?

Spotted eagle ray swimming along ocean floor

Movement: The dance of the rays

Rays, including manta rays, stingrays and spotted eagle rays move in a particularly graceful way – a swirling dance I will never tire of. Immerse yourself in the children’s classic Commotion in the ocean and you too will fall in love with the movement of the oceans.

Sea otter swimming

Engineering: Sea otters

Who doesn’t love sea otters? And, now I know they have pockets and favourite rocks, I love them even more! Otters are tool users. They select special rocks that are suitable for cracking open clams and molluscs and store these rocks in the baggy pockets of loose skin they have under each forearm. What tools do humans use?

Seahorse

Unique identifiers: Seahorses

Each seahorse has a crown, called a coronet, which is a unique identifier. Just like seahorses can be distinguished by their coronets, humans can be distinguished by their fingerprints. Encourage the children to investigate their own fingerprints and compare them with others’.

Penguins walking in a line surrounded by snow

Measuring heights: Penguins

There are 17 species of penguin, ranging in height from 20-130cm tall. By measuring and recording heights, children learn skills important for scientific research. They also use criteria for classification and STEM language.

Sea turtle swimming in ocean

Tessellation: Sea turtles

What do you know about tessellations and why do turtle shells form hexagons? My hypothesis is that hexagons have a larger surface area to smaller perimeter ratio. What is your hypothesis? What are the children’s?

Dolphin jumping through a wave

Hearing without ears: Dolphins

Do dolphins and whales have ears? How do earthworms hear? Why are ears shaped the way they are? Would dolphins and whales create more drag if they had external ears? Does long hair make a difference when moving through water? This STEM activity examines these questions and much more.

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