Beach Explorations:
A Curriculum for Grades 5-10

Overview of Each Chapter

Chapter 1: Planning and Organizing Field Trips
In this first chapter, teachers are given general information on planning and organizing field trips-how to pick a site; plan for clothing, supplies, and equipment; teach safety and conservation; and plan field-based learning cycles.

Chapter 2: Exploring Seashores with Students
This key chapter introduces students to common seashore organisms, tidal pools, the tidal cycle, and how organisms survive the changing tides. Students observe seashore animals firsthand, measure tidal changes, and infer how organisms survive life at the seashore during high tided and low tide.

The major factors that influence the intertidal are stressed: the tides; the type of shore (rocky shore, sandy beach, mud flat, estuary); the type of habitat (on rocks, under rocks, in tidal pools, in sand or mud); and whether a seashore is exposed to beating surf or protected by islands and bays. Students learn how to identify the type of seashore nearest the school, and to map and build models of seashores.

Students come to understand that seashores are fragile and they must learn the careful handling of organisms prior to their trip to the sea's edge.

Chapter 3: Plankton Soup: Microscopic Life of the Ocean
In this chapter students learn about the most abundant organisms in the ocean: the microscopic plankton. Known as "wanderers," they are tiny plants and animals that drift with the ocean currents. Students learn to collect, draw, and identify both plant and animal plankton. Gradually, students come to understand that seashore organisms have their own life cycles, and that certain marine animals such as barnacles and clams actively pass seawater through filtering devices to trap planktonic food.

Chapter 4: Food Relationships
Students learn how our coastal waters produce a rich harvest of food year-round, and how predators, scavengers, grazers, and filter feeders obtain their food. They learn how to construct food chains and food webs.

Preview Pages


overview of each chapter
page 13, 14

sample lesson, tidal pools
page 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189

sample lesson, adaptations of surf-dwelling rocky shore animals,
page 222, 223, 224, 225

sample lesson, vertical zonation,
page 202, 203