Beach Explorations:
A Curriculum for Grades 5-10

  • How does life in a tidal pool change from high tide to low tide? Or does it?
  • Will the same animals return to the same tidal pools after a high tide has come and gone? How might you find out?
  • How do the various animals protect themselves from predators? What animal weapons are evident?
  • Which animals blend into their surroundings? Why?
  • What are the advantages of living in a tidal pool at low tide? The disadvantages?
  • When the tide goes out, what animals come down from the land to prey on tidepool animals? (Shore birds, raccoons.)
  • Is it surprising to see so many animals living together in such a small space?
  • Discuss why a tidal pool is called a "community."

Taste the Seawater (optional)
Have students put their fingers in a tidal pool and lick their fingers. Why does seawater taste so strong? Why does seawater and freshwater taste differently?

What do Tidal Pool Animals Eat?
Drop pieces of frozen oyster, shrimp, or hamburger into the tidal pool. Watch what happens. Do any Animals Establish Territories? Do Tidepool Sculpins, for example, return to the same tidal pool after the tide returns? How could you find out?

Further Investigations
  1. Graph the temperature of tidal pools in the spray zone, high tide zone, middle tide zone, and low tide zone.
  2. Graph the temperature of different habitats at the same time of day.
  3. Graph the temperature of tidal pools in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
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