Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Exposed on the beach: life in a tide pool

I love the beach, don't you?  I love the peace I find at the beach, the sound and smell of the ocean, the wind on my skin, the ever changing vista of waves and sand.  It's a perfect destination, and one I don't make it to nearly enough.  Living several hours inland means we can take a beach trip, but it's not a day trip, and takes some planning.  Still, so worthwhile!

tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles
This week my family took a trip to the coast, and I made sure we timed our beach trip to coincide with low tide, so we could do some tide pooling.  I'm fascinated with life, especially the tiny little things that are easily overlooked, so I wanted to take the time to explore, to enjoy, and to photograph.

What would you most like to see, if you went tide pooling?  Jellyfish?  Sea stars?  Fish?  There are so many things that might be in a tide pool: anemones, corals, sea weed, crabs... I've been thinking about tide pools for a while, and have researched a lot of the creatures that live there in order to create resources about them.  I think what I most hoped for were sea stars - they can be so many colors, and can have between 5 and 40 arms!  Did you know sea stars can regenerate an arm if it is lost?  So amazing!

We didn't see any sea stars, but look at all the fascinating critters we did see! There were sea anemones:
tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

These funky green things looked squishy, so I gently touched one.  It clenched.  Someone nearby told me she thought they were anemones - and then I spotted one that was still underwater, and not completely closed:
tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles


There were a lot of crabs, both in and out of the water, and this one was crawling over a layer of limpets and what I think may be tiny barnacles!
tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

I had never seen hermit crabs in the wild before, and was fascinated with the number and variety of shells that kept moving around in the tide pools.  Photographing them in the water was a big challenge, until I spotted some in a very sandy spot.

tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

There were so many kinds of sea grass and sea weed, I wish that I had thought to do some research on what varieties to expect before we headed to the beach.  Next time I'll know!
tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

We also saw small fish that darted between rocks - they were very skittish, and we saw clams and mussels, and other shell fish.  We walked the beaches, collected shells and drift wood, and relaxed in the sea air.

tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

There's a lot to see along the shore line, and we were lucky enough to see otters, seals, gulls and more.  This is my favorite photo from the day, because it shows the variety of habitats along the shoreline - and captures the serenity we felt while exploring.
tide pools, ocean, beach, hermit crab, crab, anemone, limpets, barnacles

Are you thinking about a tide pooling trip?  Here are some things to remember to take with you:
 - something to collect empty sea shells in.  Remember not to disturb living creatures, for those you'll want to take your
- camera.  If you have one that will shoot underwater, take it!
- shoes that can get wet, but will also provide traction and support for walking on rocks.
- towels.  Even if all you have to do is brush off sand, you'll appreciate these!
- water and snacks.  You're not going to want to leave!
- sun screen.  Even on a cloudy day.
- a hat and a light jacket or wind breaker, sea air can be chilly.
I'd also recommend researching what you're likely to see, so you can identify and appreciate everything you find.  If you're going with children in grades 1-4, you might find this non-fiction reader informative:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/In-A-Tide-Pool-Non-fiction-Guided-Reading-Book-1868614
 For younger children, try this one (it has 3 versions, for preschool through second grade levels):
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tide-Pool-Emergent-Reader-3204776

I hope you are able to take a trip to the beach sometime - it really is the best!

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