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Oceans and Marine Life Review by Nancy King and Christine Hindle

By Kim Kargbo
Soli Deo Gloria
8965 Brookhollow Dr.
Olive Branch, MS 38654

Oceans and Marine Life is a 7-week unit study for children in grades 3-8. The main objectives are to give students an understanding of the life in a beach structure, to provide a deeper knowledge of marine life, to help children understand that a beach is a place to see how God works in our world, to attain an understanding of ocean geography and how oceans affect our lives, and lastly to understand oceanography as a science. The study is organized as follows:

Week 1 -- Ocean Geography
This week teaches the location of the five major oceans, the area, average depth, and greatest known depth. It also covers the salinity of the water, the tides and waves, the ocean floor, and how the landscape of the ocean floor is similar to dry land. This week's study includes many words that would be beneficial as vocabulary or spelling words for the week.

Week 2 -- Biomes and Ecosystems
With topics like Tidal Pools, Air Creatures of the Sea, The Open Ocean, and Coral Reefs, this week's study is bound to be interesting. The week will teach about how birds scavenge, swoop, scoop, dive, and plunge into the ocean water to get their food. Recommended outside reading includes Pagoo and Life in a Tidal Pool. Children will learn about how microscopic "phytoplankton" are used in everyday food items, such as brownie mix, cheese, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and ice cream. The Coral Reef Adventure is recommended on the last day of the study to help students learn more about coral reefs and the plants that grow on them. There are also suggestions for crafts.

Week 3 -- Life in the Sea
The "living science" book The Burgess Seashore Book for Children is recommended for this unit study. Mrs. Kargbo suggests reading two chapters a day in order to finish by the end of the study. This book teaches about many sea creatures and seashore life. The websites and are recommended sources for printable worksheets to go with the unit study.

Week 4 -- Fish
The main focus this week is identifying fish and studying the anatomy and physiology of fish. What do fish have in common with humans? We'll get the answer to that question in this week's study. Like humans, fish have five senses, and those senses are studied and included in this week's study. The life cycle and reproduction are fascinating topics for this week; students will learn about fish eggs, how they are fertilized, and the length of time it takes for a baby fish to be born. Some fish lay over 30 million eggs at one time!

Week 5 -- Ocean Mammals
Many mammals live in the ocean, and dolphins are the main focus of this week's study. Other sea mammals include, sea otters, walruses, seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Learn about the anatomy and characteristics of mammals in this very intriguing section.

Week 6 -- Predators of the Sea
What's lurking in the sea with the fish, the dolphins, and the plants? Besides the great white shark, there are many small creatures such as, shrimp, krill, coral, crabs, and squid. There are also predators that bite and stab, such as swordfish, sawfish, viperfish, tuna, marlin, and barracuda. Learn about the food chain and dangers of the sea in this week's study.

Week 7 -- The Seas in Our World
In the final week's study, students will learn about the history of the oceans and early exploration. The author recommends reading a Greek or Roman myth that tells about the explorations of Poseidon/Neptune. Students will also be looking through the Bible to find examples of sea exploration. Other topics include oceanography and ocean science, seafood and water products, generation of energy from water, and raw minerals.

In the back of this unit study, there are many resources and manipulatives provided for students and parents/teachers to use. There are quizzes, outline sheets for doing research, adaptation sheets for comparing different animals of the same species, and comparison charts. Most of the pages in the back are printable with permission of the publisher. Home educators purchasing a copy may copy worksheets or appendix pages for their own personal use.

I have really enjoyed going through this unit study, and my daughter also loves it. We are "ocean people." We not only love going to the ocean, we also love learning about the animals and mammals that live in the ocean. This is a wonderful study that could be used any time of the year, but especially during the summer months while vacationing at the ocean. I could see myself doing a whole summer study on the ocean and learning about different fish and mammals of the ocean. I consider this study to be well worth the cost, and I have recommended it to several homeschooling friends.

Product review by Nancy King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2008

Another review:

This 62-page spiral-bound unit study is brimming with good information. It is designed for 7 weeks of study for grades 3-8, but younger children can be included. Each week has 4 lessons, leaving an extra day for special projects, field trips, catching up, etc. Each week covers a different aspect of the study:

Week 1 - Ocean Geography
Week 2 - Biomes and Ecosystems of the Sea
Week 3 - Life in the Sea
Week 4 - Fish
Week 5 - Ocean Mammals
Week 6 - Predators of the Sea
Week 7 - The Seas of our World

You will need the following additional items (if these are not available you can substitute comparable items):

  • An atlas that shows the oceans of the world (Rand McNally has an atlas that is specific to the oceans.)
  • A pocket guide to seashells (illustrated)
  • The Magic School Bus Explores the Ocean Floor
  • Pagoo (Holling C. Holling) or Life in a Tidal Pool (Silverstein)
  • The Burgess Seashore Book for Children
  • A reference book about fish life cycle and anatomy

Ms. Kargbo lists other helpful resources and useful websites that will enhance this study.

The Appendix contains a reproducible Experiment Observation Sheet, various quizzes and worksheets, and coloring pages that are to be used during the course of the study.

I love this study because Ms. Kargbo makes liberal use of the Scriptures to teach this study and emphasizes the wonders of God's creation, while making a thorough examination of the physical aspects of the ocean and its creatures. We have been able to make a trip to the beach in Florida and to the Atlanta Aquarium as part of this study. Even if you are not close to the beach, there are many very nice aquariums all over the country. A trip to one of them would make an excellent field trip for this study. This study is very thorough, and I am pleased with its "fit" in our homeschool.

Product review by Christine Hindle, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2009