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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

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  •  Teaches students to be able to demonstrate an  understanding of the causes of high and low tides.
  •  Teaches students the basic needs of living things.
  • Teaches students how to minimize their impact on a seashore environment.


  • 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.

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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives 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.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
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:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
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 the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning 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.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education 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 Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

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:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
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.

Integrated 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.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry 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.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


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 student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
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 included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  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.