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We’ve been doing some science here and there this summer. When we find something that interests us and that we want to learn more about, we do some research and some experimenting. Our resource of choice has been the Christian Kids Explore series from Bright Ideas Press. Our friends at Bright Ideas gave us the series to try out this summer and I’m so glad they did! We’ve been learning a lot!
Last week, we emptied our bag of shells that we collected on our recent beach vacation to the Gulf Shores area in Alabama. The kids noticed all the different colors, shapes and sizes. “I wonder what kind of animal makes these?” was a frequent question.
Before our trip, the kids had questions about saltwater. So, we read a lesson in Christian Kids Explore Biology about freshwater vs. saltwater. I remembered there was, also, a mollusks lesson which incorporated sea shell identification. Perfect!
Learning About Mollusks
As we read about the Phylum Mollusca together, the kids started automatically sorting the shells into groups (or classes) – bivalves, gastropods and cephalopods.
The kids thought seeing the lines on the gastropod shells and learning that those were growth lines was very cool. “Just like a tree!” my son remembered.
The fact that Class Cephalopoda contains the organisms that make the spiral shells we found AND octopus and squid amazed the kids!
As the kids examined at the bivalve shells we got from the beach, my daughter noticed that they were just like the fresh water mussels we see in my parents lake. “They are the same! We have bivalves in Illinois, too!” I love light bulb moments.
Testing Our Knowledge
To test our knowledge, my daughter is making the Shell Identification Game from the Christian Kids Explore Biology textbook. Our kids learn so well by incorporating games. They have so much fun that I hate to tell them they are learning!
Our time at the beach was very relaxing and very educational. It opened our eyes to a whole new world of creatures and natural forces – so much to be curious about! The Christian Kids Explore series broke down our study into small pieces that the kids could understand and test further on their own. We love the hands-on nature of this curriculum.
Sea Shell Links
- SeaShells.org – Lots of information on shell identification, beachcombing, shell collecting, and more.
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells (National Audubon Society Field Guides) – I love all the Audubon field guides!!
- Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars: Take-Along Guide (Take Along Guides) – Great book for kids!
Welcome to the Beach Week series here at The Homeschool Scientist. This series features ocean and beach science fun. Visit the other Beach Week posts.
- In The Lab Report, sponsored by Apologia Science, learn how waves affect the shape and appearance of sandy beaches.
- Stef, from Educating Laytons, gives lots of great resources for studying sharks and other sea life, including a shark word hunt!
- Sand Dollar Unit Study Links
Looking for a good hands-on history curriculum for multiple ages? Our family loves Mystery Of History from Bright Ideas Press! Give it a try!