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Man has always been intrigued by the oceans. Myths, fears, and superstitions of sea monsters, and “gods” who ruled the waters conspired to keep man a prisoner of land. During the time of the wooden sea vessels, supposed sea serpents, in the form of snakes and of phenomenal proportions were credited with the destruction and disappearance of numerous vessels. Still today, the reputed Loch Ness monster, reputedly living in a lake, continues to mystify and intrigue the curiosity seeker. Scientific evidence has been unable to substantiate the theories of sea monsters and most reports of sitings have been proven to be grossly exaggerated descriptions of sea creatures and even floating masses of sea weeds.
The purpose of this curriculum unit is to introduce the child of kindergarten age to the fascinating world of the water. It is to provide the child with the basic information which will enable and encourage further study of this wonderful world. Through hands on activities, the child will learn about the physical world which exists under water and will be introduced to some of the inhabitants of that world. The oceans of the world will be understood as a necessary element for the existence of all life forms and will also be studied as source of continual recreation and pleasure. It is the recreational aspect, which makes it necessary for the young child to be introduced to some of the basic rules of water safety, which all, both young and old, should know and employ. As the children learn the importance of the ocean and its influence on everyday life, it will be a catalyst to the introduction of the social aspects of the school curriculum, that of individual responsibility for the welfare of the oceans and also the vital and basic skill of sharing. This includes not only sharing the responsibility of insuring a healthy oceanic environment but also the responsibility to share this concern for each other and all living things.
Weather is the condition of the air over a short period. The temperature of the air, the wind, and the amount of moisture in the air are the most important components of weather. The type of weather we will experience is determined by these and other factors. Meteorology is the scientific study of the earth’s atmosphere. It includes the physical and synoptic study of weather conditions. Physical meteorology involves the study of the visual, electrical, and other physical conditions of the atmosphere while synoptic meteorology is concerned with the daily changes in weather conditions. Meteorologists are the scientists who study weather. Through the use of satellites and radar, they endeavor to provide the public with an accurate forecast of current and future weather conditions. Forecasting accuracy has been reliable out to about five days relative to certain weather patterns.
Climate relates to the annual or long term weather conditions in an area. Precipitation and temperature are two factors which help to determine the climate of an area. The climate of a region affects the lives of people, and determines what type plants and animals inhabit a region. Climate is measured by statistical data while weather is measured using various instruments such as the barometer, thermometer, rain gauges, and so on. Climatologists study the interaction of the climate with the lives of individuals and endeavor to determine what future changes will occur in the climate and what impact certain factors, such as human activity, will have on the climates of the world.
|Objective:||1. To discuss the proper clothing for the season|
|Materials:||1. Book: Arnold’s Apple Tree|
|Procedure:||1. Display the cover of the book and let the children predict what they think the story will be about. You may wish to record their predictions|
|2. Share the story with the children, pausing periodically to allow the children to predict what may be happening on the next page. If the children’s original prediction of the story content was inaccurate, you may wish to redirect the original question at some point during the story to see if a more accurate prediction can be made|
|3. Discuss with the story with the children focusing on the changes in Arnold’s apple tree but also be sure that the children notice the changes in Arnold’s attire during each of the seasons.|
|4. Assist the children in applying the names for each season. You may wish to identify the present season, what the air feels like, appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, and how the plants and animals are reacting to this particular season. (For example, In the fall, the leaves on decidous trees and bushes turn colors and fall to the ground, squirrels are busy gathering nuts, etc.)|
|5. Trace the outline of the human form on construction paper and make enough copies for each child to recieve one. Allow the children to cut out this form. Then using various materials such as paper, fabric, buttons, glue, scissors, etc., allow the children to add the physical feaures and to “dress” the figure in clothing appropriate for the current season and weather conditions..|
Earth’s atmosphere is divided into four layers. The troposphere is closest to the earth and stretches for about eighteen kilometers above the equator to approximately eight kilometers over the poles. It is here that most weather occurs. The stratosphere lies right above the troposphere. The ozone layer is housed in the stratosphere. The ozone is a thin layer of gas which blocks out the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which have been associated with cancer. During the 1970’s, scientists discovered that fluorocarbons, a chemical used in refrigeration and aerosol sprays, were capable of doing possible damage to the ozone layer. This resulted in much concern from both the scientific and general communities. This concern eventually led to a ban on the use of fluorocarbons in the United States and the 1985 Unsponsored Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer on a global scale. The ionosphere continues above the stratosphere for eighty five to five hundred kilometers while the exosphere extends to the border of space. The atmosphere wraps around the earth like a protective garment blocking out a portion of the radiant energy of the sun. This garment of air also acts like a well regulated blanket, retaining enough of the earth’s warmth to preserve life.
Gravity, like a giant hand, is a force which pulls air towards the earth, making it denser nearer the surface. The push of air towards the earth is called air pressure. People, plants and animals dwell on the floor of this ocean of air but because the pressure of the air is equally distributed around them, they do not feel its weight.
The earth itself, is constantly in rotation, causing winds to blow and thereby keeping the air circulating and fresh. This air is heated by the radiation of the sun and the heat is absorbed by the earth and water. As this heat rises from these two sources, it warms the air above. Air over the land is heated quicker than that over the oceans because the land absorbs heat and warms quicker than the oceans. When this air over the land is warmed it rises allowing the cooler air form the water to blow in. As the night settles in, the air over the land cools and flows out towards the ocean. This moving air is called wind.
The French physicist Gaspard de Coriolis noted that the earth’s rotation on its axis, caused the winds to deflect in relation to the direction of the earth’s rotation. This movement became an important factor in the attempt to determine prevailing winds and currents. It also was a factor to be considered in the launching of missiles and rockers. This effect is called the Coriolis effect. Coriolis determined mathematically, that trade winds, easterlies, and westerlies do not blow north to south but deflect from the earth’s rotation and flow in the opposite direction. In the northern hemisphere the winds deflect to the right, while in the southern hemisphere the winds deflect to the left.
|Objectives:||1. To make wind chimes to use as an indicator of movement of the air|
|Materials:||1. Empty toilet Paper roll|
|2. Heavy string or twine|
|3. Small sea shells or shell macaroni|
|4. Ziti macaroni|
|5. Optional: Small beads|
|Procedure:||1. Let the children paint the two types of macaroni various colors|
|2. Punch two holes at the top of the toilet paper roll, directly across from each other and several holes around the bottom of the roll at fairly even intervals, you’ll need to make at least four holes on the bottom|
|3. Cut a ten inch piece of string and tie it to make a hanger|
|4. Once dried, allow the children to decorate the roll with the shells|
|5. Cut enough string of ten inch lengths equal to the number of holes on the bottom of the roll|
|6. Help the children to string the ziti macaroni and tie it to the roll. Be sure to knot one end so that the ziti doesn’t fall off. Beads can be substituted for the ziti.|
|7. Allow the children to hang their wind chimes so that they can observe the movement of the air|
Peat is found in bogs. Bogs are waterlogged areas that accumulates layers of partly decayed, densely packed plants. Not all types of plant life can exist in a bog because of the lack of air created by the density of the plant life found there. Sphagnum moss is one plant which grows in a bog. As this plant mixes with other plant life, dies, and decays, it eventually becomes what is know as “peat moss”. Peat moss was used by the American Indian, a wise user and preserver of nature, as diapers because of its absorbency. In the past, peat moss has also been used for its healing properties. During World War I, it was applied to wounds for it seemed to retard infections. Peat is also used as a fuel. Stoves are sold which use peat pellets instead of wood. The peat ignites easily and burns for a long time. Peat fires which are ignited in the wild, are difficult to extinguish because of the long burning nature of peat.
There are four major types of winds, the prevailing winds, local winds, seasonal winds, and cyclonic or anti-cyclonic winds. These winds are associated with seven major wind belts. Three of these belts are located in northern hemisphere, another three are located in the southern hemisphere, and seventh belt is the area surrounding the equator which is known as the doldrums. The zonal winds in each hemisphere are referred to as the westerlies, the house latitudes, and the easterlies (or the trade winds.)
Poleward of the horse latitudes are the westerlies. Since the identification of a wind is determined by the direction from which it blows, these winds are known as the prevailing westerlies. The direction of the westerlies are greatly influenced by the effects of the migratory cyclonic and anti cyclonic disturbances. Cyclones, which result from the interaction of the air masses, are the typical storms of the northern hemisphere. Most of the changes we see in the weather are the result of the westerlies for they move the air masses. About eight to twelve miles above the surface of the earth, the speed of the westerlies increases rapidly. Here you will find the wind velocity reaching in excess of one hundred miles per hour. The highest recorded speed of this area was three hundred forty miles per hour. This area of concentrated westerlies is known as the jet stream.
In the polar regions of both hemispheres are high pressure areas which deflect towards the west in the direction of the equator.
The water vapor found in the atmosphere condenses and forms drops of water which settle on the grass, trees, and flowers. The temperature that the air must meet before it squeezes out the water is the dew point.
These water vapors condense on dust found in air and the two combine to form droplets. Millions of these water droplets unite to form clouds.
The most common types of clouds are the cirrus, cumulus, nimbus, and stratus.
|Objective:||1. Children will observe and identify the various cloud formations|
|Procedure:||1. Show the children pictures of the most common cloud formations, the cirrus, cumulus, nimbus, and stratus. Discuss the characteristics of these clouds.|
|2. Take the children out of doors to observe the various cloud formations.|
|3. Look for movement of the clouds or any descriptive shapes. If the clouds are moving, discuss the directions they are taking and whether or not they are moving in the same or different directions.|
|4. The children will enjoy listening to the story, It Looked Like Spilt Milk, a story about the descriptive shapes the clouds can resemble.|
|5. Allow the children to create descriptive shapes, such as bumblebee, rabbits, etc., from “clouds” using black construction paper and cotton balls. Let the children add a caption and combine all pictures to make a class book.|
Coastal floods can be the result of high tides induced by strong winds which move over the ocean surface or by tsunamis.
Blizzards, which are most common in the western parts of the United States but not totally unknown to other areas, are the combination of heavy snowfalls accompanied by strong winds and extreme cold. The snowfall and winds last for a period of at least three hours and some may last for days. The winds during a blizzard can reach speeds of over forty miles per hour and reduce the visibility to near zero. People and livestock have been killed during blizzards and buildings, burdened with the weight of the snow, may collapse. Blizzards can essentially paralyze an entire area like the great blizzard of March 1888, which lasted for three days and brought the eastern portion of the United States to a stand still.
Avalanches occur when a large amount of snow slides down a mountainside. Avalanches are responsible for the deaths of nearly two hundred people per year. They are quick, powerful snow slides, which can be triggered by a sudden movement or loud noise. Due to the swiftness and surety of the results of an avalanche, they have been given the notorious nickname of “white death”.
Thunder, lightning, rain, and hail accompany this storm. The high winds create a terrific noise which mimics the sound made by a jet engine or freight train. As this air continues to spin, the result may be a funnel shaped cloud which whirls at high speeds. The center of a tornado can reach a speed of more than two or three hundred miles per hour. Tornadoes are powerful enough to lift buildings off their foundation and to cause much loss of property and life. Tornadoes are the fastest wind storms on earth.
The vast plain areas from Texas to the Canadian border have been nicknamed “tornado alley” by meteorologists, for this is where most tornadoes strike in the United States. The high period for the formation of tornadoes is during the months of April, May, and June.
Hurricanes are all given names which have generally been feminine in gender. Only recently have hurricanes been named after males as well.
|Objective:||1. To learn the basic rules of storm safety.|
|Materials||1. Big Book: Stormy Weather|
|Procedure:||1. Display the story cover to the children and allow them to predict what they think the story will be about.|
|2. Share the story with the children|
|3 Talk about the different types of storms presented in the book and the procedure to be followed during each storm|
|4. Make a list of storm safety tips, such as stay out of the water, don’t stand under a tree, seek shelter in a building, etc. and post it in the classroom where it can be reviewed periodically|
|Objective:||1. To discuss what the children should do after a storm|
|2. To list some of the agencies available to assistance those in need after a destructive storm|
|Materials:||1. Red Cross Booklet: After A Storm|
|Procedure:||1. Read the booklet to the children|
|2. Discuss what the children should do after a destructive storm.|
|3. Using your school library or resource center, make a list of local agencies which offer assistance to those in need after a destructive storm. This list may include the Red Cross, United Way, churches, and other civic organizations|
|Extension:||1. Read the book, Where Do All The Animals Go In A Storm. Discuss what animals go during a storm.|
Geological forces account for the erosion of the surface layers of rocks.
As these surfaces come in contact with rain and wind, or expand from the heat of the sun, fragmented pieces break away. These pieces of fragmented rocks are carried away by rain or wind. Rivers are carved out of rock as rain water meanders down the face of a mountain, searching for the path of least resistance. Rain dissolves some minerals and can destroy others. When water seeps into the cracks of rocks and freezes, this expansion can cause the rock to crack. Roots of plants, such as trees, can also split a rock.
The waves and currents of the ocean are instrumental in sculpturing the cliffs and beaches of the coastal areas. During severe weather coastal erosion may cause some serious damage.
The erosion of soil has been accelerated by the activities of humans. Lumbering, agriculture, and housing developments have removed much of the vegetation which would have protected the soil from the effects of erosion. With this mantle of greenery in place, the effects of erosion would have been greatly impeded as plants would have acted as windbreakers preventing the wind from carrying away the soil, while the roots would prevent the soil from being carried away by the water.
Like any river, the Gulf Stream has its tributaries. These tributaries flow through the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and around the coast of Cuba. The current continues southeastward along the coast of the United States and then carouses northeast across the Atlantic Ocean up to the British Isles where it then moves toward the Arctic Circle.
Winds blowing across the surface of the ocean currents are called the westerlies or trade winds. these winds blow towards Europe and are warmed by the waters of the Gulf Stream. This warm air helps to temper the climate of western Europe.
Currents can run swift and deep and can be virtually undetected by the human eye. This is why it is important to observe the rules of water safety when boating, fishing, or swimming. Each year rapidly moving currents are responsible for the drowning deaths of many individuals.
Waves are formed as the wind rushes over the water. The increased velocity of the wind creates larger and larger waves. Tidal waves are not powered by the wind but instead are the result of underwater volcanic activity, avalanches, or earthquakes. Tidal waves can strike the coast with a terrifying force causing much destruction of property and loss of life.
|Objective:||1. The children will learn the basic rules of water safety|
|2. To create a class big book on water safety|
|Materials:||1. Any book on water safety|
|Procedure:||1. Read the story to the children or if a book is not available, discuss the water safety tips found in this paper with the children|
|2. Have the children choose a tip or assign a safety tip to a group of children and have them illustrate the safety tip.|
|3. Let the children dictate a caption for their picture.|
|4. Combine these pictures into a class big book.|
Safety Tips for the Pool & Beach
- 1. LEARN TO SWIM!!!
- 2. Stay away out of and away from unclean or unknown waters
- 3. Don’t dive in unknown waters. It may be to shallow or rocks may lie under the surface
- 4. Never swim alone. Always take along a buddy.
- 5. Never go swimming during a lightning storm. Water is a conductor of electricity.
- 6. Rest when you’re cold or tired
- 7. Only swim within the limits of your ability
- 8. Obey the lifeguard and other posted rules at the beach or pool
- 9. Never shove or dunk
- 10. Don’t run around the edge of the pool. It could be wet!
- 11. Never enter a neighbor’s pool uninvited
- 12. When entering or exiting from a pool, hold onto the railing
- 13. Wear a life jacket
Fish have gills through which they breathe the air which is contained in the water. They have backbones and most have scaly skin. The majority are cold blooded and hatch their young from eggs. Fish come in a variety of sizes ranging from being very small, like the smallest of the seahorse, to being quite large like the blue shark.
The Gulf Stream acts as an international highway for marine life. As the warm, blue waters of the Gulf Stream continues its pathway towards the Arctic Circle many fish traverse its waters. Many fish have names which are descriptive of some land dwelling animals, like the tiger fish.
There are many different kinds of sea horses. They range in size from two inches to more than eight inches long. They are the slowest moving fish known, traveling a mere foot per minute. The ability of the seahorse to change its color helps to protect it from predators.
Sharks live in all the waters of the world, but certain species have their preference in water temperatures. The hammerhead shark prefers the warm waters of the tropics, while the dogfish shark prefers colder waters. The blue shark has a preference for a more temperate climate which is neither too warm nor too cold.
Sharks find their food by using their highly developed senses. A shark can feel vibrations in the water though the source of those vibrations be very far away. It can also detect the slightest trace of an odor. Sharks also have very good eyesight, quite contrary to the past belief that their eyesight was poor and they hear very well.
It’s all over for the curious!
|Objective||1. The children will learn about some of the unique creatures that live in the sea|
|2. The children will recognize the descriptive features of some sea creatures and associate them with the land creatures after whom they have been named|
|Materials:||1. Pictures or a picture book of various marine animals with descriptive names|
|2. Pictures of land animals which can be associated with the marine animals because of certain physical features|
|3. Art supplies to create feature creatures such as scissors, glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc.|
|Procedure:||1. Discuss the pictures of the different marine animals with descriptive names and ask the children how they think this animal got its name|
|2. Share any information concerning the habitat and feed habits of the animal that you have with the children|
|3. Allow the children to create their own “feature creatures” using the art materials suppled by combining the features of a land creature with the tail of a fish. For example, the lion fish could have the face of a lion and the body of a fish.|
|4. Make a mural of the ocean and add these “feature creatures” to your ocean scene.|
We must all learn to care for the environment in which we live and realize that what we do affects the all. We have to take an active part in the preservation of that environment not only for ourselves but for other living organisms as well. At a very early age the young child can be taught to value the things of nature and to respect the home in which he or she may live and that of other living things.
We now realize that we don’t live in a glass bubble but that every action has a reaction. As we seek to understand the global changes affecting earth, lets us do our part to ensure that the direction of those changes is a positive one.
|Objective:||1. The children will learn the importance of sharing|
|Materials:||1. Story: The Rainbow Fish|
|2. Fish scales of many colors made from felt|
|3. Velcro dots|
|Procedure:||1. Discuss with the children the importance of sharing|
|2. List the reasons why the children think it is important or not important to share responsibilities and things in the home and the classroom.|
|3. Display the book and allow the children to discuss what they see on the cover|
|4. Read the story and discuss the story details with the children|
|5. Let the children role play the story as presented in the book, The Rainbow Fish|
____This book explores the patterns of weather and how weather forms.
Otfinoski, Steven, Blizzards, Twenty first Century Books, New York, 1994. This book focuses on some of North America’s worst catastrophes.
Branley, Franklyn M, Tornado Alert, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1988. This book explains where, when, and how a tornado forms and what to do to stay safe if a tornado strikes.
Gibbons, Gail, Weather Words, Holiday House, New York 1990.
Fradin, Dennis B., Disaster ! Blizzards and Winter Weather, Children’s Press, Chicago, 1983
Silver Burdett Color Library, Weather and Climate, Macmillian Children’s Books, London, 1984. This book examines past climatic changes and the ways human activities may alter the climate.
Pfister, Marcus; The Rainbow Fish, North-South Books, New York, 1992
The bright, colorful scales of the rainbow fish make him the most beautiful fish in the ocean but he’s been asked to share ...
Author Unknown, Arnold’s Apple Tree, Scholastic
Scholastic, Stormy Weather, Scholastic, Inc., 1992
Maestro, Betsy, A Sea Full of Sharks, Scholastic, Inc., 1990, An up to date informative book about sharks in their natural water home.
Turekian, Karl K., Global Environmental Change, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1996. This book aims to address the issues of natural and human induced or accelerated environmental change on the global scale.
Grady, Sean M., Plate Tectonics: Earth’s Shifting Crust, Lucent Books, Inc., San Diego, CA., 1991
|Mary-Alice Howley||Reading & Writing Enrichment|
|Linda MacNaughton||/Study Skills Enrichment|
|Yel Brayton||Theater & Creative Dramatics|
Below is a summary of the presentations we envision for our town meeting. The text used for the following presentations will largely be taken directly from The Soundbook, which was published by The Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, Inc., Norwalk, CT. (page numbers respective to topic areas have been indicated.)
Introduction and the Geologic History of Long Island Sound [5-7 minutes]
This will be a slide presentation with narration by two to four narrators. The slides will be determined by students and should include their drawings and photographs, as well as existing slides culled from various sources—all of which will be reproduced in 35mm slide format by a photo studio. Key points to be represented by slides follow (from The Soundbook text, “Long Island Sound . . . Beginning of the Story,” p. 9-11).
Long Island Sound, A Living Time Line [5-7 minutes]
The narration for the living time line will be taken from “History Along the Sound” from The Soundbook (pp. 11-14). There will be five main periods of Long Island Sound history presented: Native Americans, English and Dutch Settlers, Maritime Development, Transportation, and Industrial Development. For each major section of this text, a small group of theater students in period costuming will enter to a specified section of the stage where they will pantomime various activities as their group’s portion of the text is being narrated. At the end of their section of the narration, they will strike a tableau and remain “frozen in time” as subsequent groups enter. At the end of this presentation, we will have a blackout and students will exit the stage.
Sound Ecology, Profile of a Tidal Wetland [10 minutes]
The background portion of a life-size diorama will appear on a platform—4’ x 16’—off stage, either to the left or right of the proscenium. The narrator will stand in front of the platform and will introduce “The Sound Today” from page 16 of The Soundbook. As she or he continues with the narration, stage hands will assemble preset foreground pieces, such as grasses, dunes, animal life, etc. In order to do this, the diorama will be constructed as a puzzle so that foreground pieces can be disassembled and reassembled. After this introduction, slides will again be used to represent various aspects of tidal wetlands.
INTERMISSION: [15 minutes]
Students will be given a 15-minute intermission and will be invited to peruse the exhibits along the eastern and western walls of the auditorium.
Protecting The Environment [3 minutes]
This presentation is basically a review of Chapter Nine, “Protecting the Environment” from the Eighth grade Social Studies text, Exploring American History (p. 664-667). Speakers will draft this speech to introduce the Town Meeting.
What is a Town Meeting? [5 minutes]
An overview of the legislative process is narrated, accompanied by actors in pantomime; followed by instructions for the form of our town meeting. Additionally, all audience participants will have a rubric to critique the issues presented.
The Ecological Viability of Long Island Sound [3 minutes per presentation followed by 3 minutes for Q&A; average time with breaks—45-60 minutes]
The following topics will be offered by individual student presenters. There are six main areas of presentation, however, more than one presenter may be involved per area. (page numbers that refer to information in The Soundbook are indicated.) Presenters should use visual aids, such as large charts, video or slides:
LUNCH BREAK [60 minutes]
This will be an extended lunch period in order for students to organize their notes, discuss the presentations, and make mental notes or actual lists, if they so chose, of their main concerns, comments or questions, which they will have the opportunity to present during the panel discussion that follows.
What We Can Do, a panel discussion [45 minutes]
The panel will consist of the presenters (from “Presentation Six,” science teachers, an administrator, a city official (to be determined) and a resident expert on the Sound. They will be seated on stage. A discussion leader will stand at the podium and will have the responsibility of introducing topics and fielding questions from the audience. A microphone will be set up mid-center aisle in the audience for audience members who wish to address the panel. Topics for discussion (from The Soundbook) will include: How a Home Helps Pollute Long Island Sound (p. 47);What you [and/or others] can do— in your own backyard (pp. 46-48); about household hazardous waste (pp. 48-49); about your septic system (pp. 50-52); to conserve water (pp. 52-54); on your farm (pp. 54-56); on your boat (pp. 56-58); as a citizen (pp. 58-60).
FOLLOW UP, NEXT DAY:
Science and Social Studies collaborative assignment
[two to four two-period class sessions]
Social Studies and Science classes will collaborate on an interdisciplinary assignment that will involve Eighth graders in critiquing the introductory presentations, town meeting presentations and panel discussion that they had attended (or been a part of). Students will also be involved in discussions concerning the relevance of the information presented with respect to their individual lives; to their responsibility as members of the Long Island Sound community as well as members of the global community. This will be followed by students brainstorming suggestions for safeguarding the Sound and drafting letters to local and state representatives.
Contents of 1997 Volume VI | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute