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Exploring the Seashore With Children

From "Once Upon a Seashore"

Elementary, Middle


A series of activities to be used as a starting point for exploring and investigating the seashore with young children. Students become aware of the unique habitat and needs of seashore creatures. This chapter is intended to be taught in conjunction with other chapters within the larger compilation; Once Upon a Seashore: A Curriculum Guide for K-6.

  • Students learn how to observe and sketch the details of a plant or animal
  • Students learn to identify common organisms
  • Students map seashores
  • Students count populations of organisms in tidal pools
  • Students measure changes in the tide level
  • Students build models of habitats

General Assessment


  • Background knowledge of key concepts and terms are provided for teachers.
  • Focus on visiting the seashore is very important and engaging for students.
  • Resource is very easy to read and all paper worksheets and visuals are provided.
  • Purpose of the activities are clearly outlined
  • Package is up to date


  • Cooperative learning skills are not utilized.
  • Lack of case studies appropriate for students.
  • No assessment tools provided.
  • Students are not given the opportunity to take action to make change.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • The value of our seashores and the creatures that inhabit them.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Satisfactory
  • The resource does present a fairly biased approach of the need to protect the unique habitats of seashore creatures.
  • The resource does allow students to make their own predictions and ask their own questions, and follow through with multiple trips to the seashore.
  • The resource does a good job of representing the rights of non-humans.
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory
  • This resource does not address the economic or political dimensions of problems and solutions.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Satisfactory
  • A problem solving approach is taken when discussing how to protect the seashore environments.
  • The resource does not address the complexity of why it is important to protect and preserve seashore habitats and creatures.
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered
  • Students are not given the opportunity to take action to create change based on the information that they have learned about the seashore in this chapter.
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Poor/Not considered
  • Skills needed to take effective action are not explicitly taught to students.
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good
  • Students learn about the various habitats and creatures that inhabit the seashore while visiting the seashore multiple times.
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • Students focus mainly on the present during this chapter.
  • More emphasis could be placed on looking at the change in physical characteristics and organisms that once inhabited the seashore.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
  • Chapter does have a bias that leans towards the importance of protecting and maintaining the seashore, but students are encouraged to ask questions, make educated guesses, and explore the seashore directly.
  • Educators are encouraged to ask open ended questions.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Satisfactory
  • The opportunity for interdisciplinary teaching is present, but is not fully expanded upon.
  • Suggestions for linking science topics with ELA, and taking temperatures of different environments, are only mentioned briefly.
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
  • Lessons are designed so that many of the concepts are pre-taught prior to visiting the seashore, where students may have discovered many things on their own.
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Satisfactory
  • Students get the opportunity to experience the seashore directly which fosters value in the preservation of seashores.
  • There is minimal discussion of the effects that humans have had on the seashore and its inhabitants over time.
Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory
  • Many activities are teacher directed, with very little opportunities for differentiation provided.
  • Visits to the seashore is a good tool for a variety of different types of learners.
Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
  • Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during their visit to the seashore.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
  • No relevant case studies are provided for students.
Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Poor/Not considered
  • Lessons within this chapter are very much teacher directed, although students do have some freedom to choose the area they would like to investigate further during their trip to the seashore.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.