Make an Ocean Box!

This year my youngest daughter wanted to study marine biology. My first thought was Please don’t let it involve a fish tank – pleeease. For those of you who know me well, you will know just why I was thinking that. My history with fish tanks has involved well, a lot of expired fish. Apparently, I’m a fish killer.

Soooo, when I found out that one of the many highlights of our marine biology text involved a project constructing an ocean box or diorama and fish constructed of modeling clay, I tried to contain my glee. Luckily, to my daughter I just appeared like an enthusiastic homeschool mom.

We are fortunate to live on a beautiful island on the west coast, and this has provided a variety of means to explore our local shores and tidal pools. The much praised by me text we have been using (though it shouldn’t really be called a text book, because text books are boring and this book is definitely NOT BORING, and it is extra special because it does not inlvove a fish tank) has been Fulbright’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

One of the highlights of the text is an opportunity to create ones very own ocean box. Throughout the text, students are encouraged to continually add critters that they have learned about and place them in the appropriate proximity in their ocean box. Well, it wasn’t long before my daughter’s virtual ocean was teeming with life; including a walrus who was actually sitting on top of the ocean box. Whales were gliding, fish were swimming, jellyfish were drifting, starfish were clinging, There was even an elaborate coral reef. This is a also good project for siblings to do together as well providing you have a really big box and lots of modeling clay.

I can’t say enough about these texts – my children love them. The books cover enough material to take a student through an entire year of study, but you can modify them as you wish. Over all, we have been using this marine text for about 3/4 of the school year and are presently starting the botany text which I will most likely carry over into the first part of the following school year.

Wondering what to do with this elaborate project once completed? Well, most people would probably take a photo and place the said photo in an album or binder and then promptly dismantle said project. Me, who was overjoyed at the fact that it didn’t involve a fish tank– considered hanging it on her bedroom wall. Over time I think I’ll opt for the photo, but there is talk of raising tadpoles in the forefront. I wonder if she’ll go for a frog pond made from paper mache.



Filed under Curriculum, Learning, Science

8 responses to “Make an Ocean Box!

  1. I love this idea! Great post. It would make a great addition to the Canadian Home Educating Blog Carnival, if you’d like to submit it. Check it out here –

  2. Laurie

    Did you notice that the keynote speaker for CHEC next year is Jeannie Fulbright (the author of said wonderful books). She speaks on a wide variety of topics other than science too. I’ll be doing my best to get there. She also has a website, blog and free newsletters etc…..

    Your children’s diorama turned out great! We have her books too. We picked up her latest one at the conference.

    Laurie (who really isn’t trying to stalk you LOL!) It’s just nice to find a like minded person close by with a great blog.

  3. Sheryle

    Cheryl (great name, by the way 🙂 )

    Thanks for the great post about the science curriculum. I have been searching for something more “fun and interesting” my two children (ages 9,11) could do together…yeah! I am definitely going to check out the Fulbright books for next year. My kids would LOVE the ocean box.

    I sooo enjoy your posts and thank you for inviting other homeschool moms into your world and family. It is so encouraging to hear what you do, your struggles, and what is working for you.

    Thanks for your honesty!


  4. Pingback: Get Growing! « A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool Journey

  5. Pingback: Honey, I killed the tadpoles….I think. « A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool Journey

  6. The Ocean Box sounds like a great project! What a fun way to learn about the ocean!

  7. My dd11 has been using the Young Explorers Astronomy book this year and it’s awesome – I love the way she writes TO the child, y’know? The text is interesting, the pictures are fabulous, and it’s just all round engaging….we have the Flying Creatures one for next year, but she’s been making noises about the land animals or the swimming creatures one so we may change…. They’re great books though, for sure! Your daughter’s diorama is fantastic! 🙂

  8. I am planning on using this curriculum with my daughter this coming year, and possibly teaching it to a small class (6-10 kids). I LOVE your daughter’s ocean box! What a wonderful job!

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