Beach Explorations:
A Curriculum for Grades 5-10

  1. Some people believe that every seventh wave is the largest, and that those in between are safer. Is this true? Discuss the fact that waves on an exposed shoreline are highly unpredictable. Sometimes several high waves follow in succession. They should never turn their back to the sea unless they're very familiar with the wave action of the area.
  2. Brainstorm ways that rocky shore animals could survive on a surf-swept shore. (Being small, streamline, heavy, etc.) Emphasize that some rocky shore animals are better equipped to survive heavy surf than other rocky shore animals. Think of rocky shore animals that are specially adapted to survive heavy surf.
  3. Ask selected students to read the Pacific Coast Information Cards listed above. They should look for ways these organisms are specially equipped to survive heavy surf. Project the overhead transparency, "Adaptations of Surf-Dwelling Rocky Shore Organisms." Ask the class to infer how the organisms survive in heavy surf.
  4. Tell the students that Sea Palms, gooseneck Barnacles, and Purple Sea Urchins are considered to be "indicator organisms," that is, they're specially suited for living in the violent surf-swept world of exposed shores. Students should avoid shores with these organisms.
Enrichment Activities
  1. Invent adaptations for surf-dwelling organisms.
  2. Invent a plant or animal specially equipped to survive the surf-swept rocky shore. Draw a picture of the organism. Give the organism a name. Tell how the organism is adapted for life in heavy surf.
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