Your Learning Connection | Vol. 9
What is the first thing you imagine when you think of a shark? Sharp teeth? Gaping jaws? A great white shark fin moving through the water? This description fits some species of sharks such as the top predators tracked by Ocearch.org scientists (they track sea turtles and dolphins too). But this doesn’t describe all of our shark friends!
There are over 400 species of sharks, many of which are smaller, but all sharks play an important role as predators, helping to balance the ocean food web. Learn more about our chain catsharks from naturalist Becky the video below. Then, head to What is a Shark for some fun shark facts and a wordsearch.
Did you know that baby sharks are called pups? To discover more about what makes a shark a shark, visit the Pup’s Activity Zone.
Trash to Tide Pool: Upcycle Art
World Oceans Day is dedicated to the protection and conservation of one of our planet’s most valuable resources – the ocean. You can participate in the festivities by making art that celebrates the ocean and its inhabitants, while also reusing materials that would otherwise go to the landfill, or end up in the ocean. Try your hand at making your own recycled art with Trash to Tidepool!
Want some more art inspiration? When the Ocean Gives You Plastic, Make Animals illustrates one artist’s journey of turning trash into treasure. Ocean Awareness Art Contest, hosted by From the Bow Seat, is for children 11-18 years old and a great way to connect with students around the world who are passionate about ocean conservation.
Shapes in Nature
To celebrate the ocean, we challenge you to match sea shapes with shapes in your yard or neighborhood! Have you ever noticed that some things in nature are similar shapes? For instance, the shape of a butterfly’s wings might look similar to the petals of a flower, or the shape of your hand might resemble a maple leaf. Start with our Backyard Ocean Shapes Scavenger Hunt, and then let your imagination run wild! What additional patterns, shapes, and textures can you find in and around your home that resemble ocean life? What do they remind you of? We’d love to see what you find! Feel free to send any of your discoveries to [email protected].
Ready to dive deeper? Biologists look at the similarities and differences in shape, size, and behavior of plants and animals all the time! By comparing and contrasting, scientists can find out whether two species are closely related or not. If two living things look similar, but are not at all related, we call it convergent evolution. To learn more about this phenomenon, check out this 2 Minute Classroom Video! For more examples of repeating shapes and patterns, head to Patterns in Nature Facts for Kids.
What’s a Watershed?
Have you ever heard someone say “all rivers lead to the ocean?” Most of the time, this is true. No matter where you live, you live in a watershed, or an area of land that collects water into one place. You can think of the Earth like a bunch of small crooked bowls created by mountains, and wherever the bottom of the bowl is, that is where the most water ends up within the watershed. The ocean is like a bathtub underneath all of the bowls that collects any water that overflows from the watersheds. Learn more about watersheds from PBS’s Curious Kids, and find out which watershed you live in at USGS.
Now it’s time to get wet! Head outside in order to find out how water flows in your driveway in this Watershed Experiment. Where did your water go?
Humans can have an affect on the health of the watershed. All of the water within a watershed is connected. Pollutants such as trash and chemicals get washed into streams by rain, eventually flowing down into one body of water. Try Home Science Tools’ Water Pollution Experiment to learn more about how humans can impact watersheds. Keep our oceans clean by keeping your watershed clean!