Once Upon a Seashore:
A Curriculum for Grades K-6

Chapter 1: Theoretical Framework
In this first chapter, teachers are introduced to six basic assumptions that provide the framework for the materials and activities in Once Upon the Seashore. The six assumptions serve as a guide for designing learning experiences at the seashore and in the classroom. The assumptions are: play, sensory awareness, inquiry skills, imagining, integration of subject areas, and valuing.

Chapter 2: Planning and Organizing Field Trips
Provides teachers with 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 3: Fascinating Seashore Animals
Introduces children to common types of seashore organisms: snails, barnacles, crabs, sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins, fishes, shore birds, and seaweeds. The children learn that seashore animals have adaptation mechanisms for breathing, moving about, getting food, eating, escaping enemies, finding shelter, and sensing changes in their environment. The adaptations of seashore organisms are fun to study because their bodies have to fulfill the same basic needs as our bodies do; they just do it differently. These similarities and differences are used to stimulate interest, fascination and reverence for the great variety of organisms that live at the seashore.

Chapter 4: Exploring the Seashore With Children
Introduces children to basic ecology concepts associated with the living seashore: types of seashores, tides, tidal pools, habitats, predator-prey relationships, and how organisms survive the changing tide. Students set standards for their own behavior before they go to the seashore. Sample lessons help teachers plan and organize trip to the seashore with young children.

Chapter 5: Plankton Soup: Microscopic Life of the Ocean
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 6: 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. At low tide, most seashore animals hide under rocks, among seaweeds, or in tidal pools. Without seawater there's no food to eat and no shield from the sun. When the tide returns and covers the plants and animals, the feast is on!

Chapter 7: Inquires With Seashore Animals
Several exploratory activities with living organisms are provided for the students. The chapter develops the science process skills of observing, predicting, inferring, measuring and recording, etc. In the process of discovery, students develop some understanding of living things, how organisms sense their environment, have attachment devices or move about, protect themselves from predators and keep from drying out when the tide goes out.

Chapter 8: The Sandy Beach
The sandy shore, in contrast to the rocky shore, appears barren of life. But life does exist here. Most of the organisms, however, live beneath the surface. Children learn how sandy beach animals have adapted to the harsh conditions that accompany the changing water levels.

Preview Pages


overview of each chapter
page 12, 13

sample lesson, hermit crabs
page 67, 68, 69

sample lesson, low tide
page 123, 124, 125

sample lesson, high tide
page 126, 127, 128

sample lesson, a trust walk
page 240