What Sea Creature Is This?

“This charming account of wonders and oddities of the ocean world is lighthearted yet true to facts. Please treat your children, grandchildren or other eager, young learners to this book.”    —Robert A. Knox, Associate Director (emeritus), Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The illustrations of amazing creatures in this book combine with delightful description to unlock the mystery of what lives in the deep. It's like scuba diving without getting wet!”    —George Z. Peterson, Monterey Aquarium; Secretary, American Academy of Underwater Sciences

Illustrated in spectacular watercolors, What Sea Creature is This? intrigues young readers (ages 4-9) with amazing and realistic illustrations and includes a couple of facts about each of the creatures featured. Open the cover and swim with such beautiful oddities as the Flashlight Fish, which can be found with light pouches under its eyes in white, blue, yellow and green. Turn the page to find the Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, which ties itself in knots to remove algae and barnacles from its skin.

Classroom Activities

What Sea Creature Is This?

Facilitate whole class participating in shared reading and discussion of the book What Sea Creature Is This? Read aloud the book.
Discuss the different types of sea creatures and how the illustrations clarify the text. Sample open-ended questions:
1.   What are sea creatures?
2.   How do sea creatures move?
3.   How are sea creatures like/unlike people?
4.   What color are sea creatures?
5.   What do sea creatures eat?
6.   What is your favorite sea creature?
7.  Are sea creatures dangerous?
8.  What survival skills do sea creatures need?
9.  Why is the ocean important to people?
10. Why is it important to protect animal habitats?

Life Under the Sea
Students will create an ocean environment in their classroom while researching interesting facts about their favorite sea creatures.
Materials: Crayons, colored pencils, markers, Crepe paper (blue, green, red, yellow, pink), Paper plates, Construction paper, Index cards ,Yarn or string, Books or magazines with pictures or illustrations of fish
1.     On the board or chart paper, list each child's name and favorite sea creature. Each student will read about his/her favorite sea creature and write interesting facts about the sea creature on index cards. Encourage students to illustrate the animal. Display a variety of books and magazines for reference.
2.     Decorate the classroom. Hang blue and green crepe paper across the room to create the seawater. Then have children draw and cut out a picture of their favorite fish or other sea creature. Make sure that children decorate both sides of their fish. Then hang the fish from the ceiling or display them around the classroom walls. Continue to create an undersea world in the classroom by using some or all of the following ideas.

Students can make jellyfish by coloring paper plates and hanging red, yellow, and/or pink crepe paper tentacles from the plates. Hang the jellyfish from the ceiling so they look like they are floating in the water.

Brainstorm with students things that might be found on the ocean floor, such as a coral reef, an octopus cave, a sunken ship, and a lobster trap. Decorate, or simply refer to, areas in your classroom as these undersea landmarks. For example, the reading corner may become a coral reef (pipe cleaners can be used to make coral); a bookshelf could become a sunken ship (drape bulletin board paper over the bookshelf and draw an outline of a ship). 

Enhance the ocean theme by placing ocean items around the classroom. Some ideas are:     Fishing Nets         Sharks jaws/teeth        Dried seahorses        Seaweed       Shells        Sponges       Starfish
At the end of the week allow students to share what they have learned about their favorite sea creature. Celebrate with a special snack, such as saltwater taffy or crackers shaped like fish.

Art/Science Activities Sea Mobile -
Have students work in groups to draw and color pictures of sea creatures that share ocean space. Example: Clown fish and sea anemone or wrasses and sharks. Cut the pictures out and glue to heavy construction paper. Punch holes and tie them to a clothes hanger to make the mobile. Display the mobiles around the room.

Saltwater Paintings - Mix one-fourth cup of warm water with six teaspoons of salt and 3 drops of food coloring in a small container. Mix well. Have students paint ocean pictures with the mixture on white paper. Let dry. The water evaporates but the colored salt remains, creating beautiful pictures. This is a good chance to discuss evaporation with students. What evaporates and what didn't?

Paper Bag Fish Puppets- Stuff paper bags with newspaper and secure the tail with a rubber band. Decorate the 'fish' with eyes, fins, etc.

Literature/Science Activities For the following activities, select a variety of grade-appropriate books and magazines for students to read, compare, interpret, and evaluate information.

ABC Ocean Book Write each letter of the alphabet on a sheet of paper. Have students draw a letter. They choose a sea animal whose name begins with that letter. Then draw the animal or find a picture of it to glue to the page. Write facts about the animal under the picture. When all the letters have been finished, photocopy and staple all the pages into a book for each child to take home.

Fishy Stories - Have students choose a sea creature and write a story about it. Describe its environment, what it eats, and how it protects itself. Illustrate the story.

Clothesline Story - Use white drawing paper, construction paper and crayons, have students illustrate their favorite sea creature and label the illustration with the name of the sea creature. Hang the illustrations on the clothesline.

Riddle Cards - On index cards write the names of different sea creatures. Students draw a card and research the animal on it. On the back of the card they should write facts about their animals such as; where it lives, what it eats, what color/shape it is, is it a predator or prey? When finished, they can read the facts and let the class, or a partner, guess the animal.

Sea Creature Acrostics - These are a great way for students to recall facts about sea animals. Write an ocean word down the chalkboard. Brainstorm words that begin with each letter. Be sure to use some ocean words. List them on the board. As a class use the words to create a few acrostic poems about sea creatures. Allow students to create their own poems.

New Animal - Pretend you have just discovered a new sea creature in the ocean. Tell where you found it, what it looks like, what it eats, and what its name is. How would it behave? Encourage students to use their imaginations and knowledge of ocean life. Post the work so others can read the narratives.

Puzzling.
Students work with partners to create domain-specific words, such as tentacles and predator, to include in crossword puzzles for their classmates to complete. A free crossword puzzle maker is available at Teacher’s Corner website. http://www.theteacherscorner.net/ Danger.

Use information gained from the illustrations and words in the text of
What Sea Creature Is This? to demonstrate understanding of the text. Ask students to write a paragraph explaining which sea creature is the most dangerous or scariest. Encourage them to use information from the illustrations and text to justify responses. Chart. Make a chart with student responses listing facts they learned about sea creatures. Reread the book to gather more facts to add to the chart.