We recently finished up our next Be Naturally Curious science mini-unit and it was a great topic for kids of a wide age range. This unit, called Freddie and his Ocean Friends, kept the kids engaged and led to some really fun activities. Be Naturally Curious has designed a dozen different science and nature mini-courses that are extremely affordable for families.
*Be Naturally Curious provided me with a copy of their curriculum in exchange for my review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, through which I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!*
According to Be Naturally Curious, “The Freddie and His Ocean Friends mini-course introduces different forms of life in the ocean, both plankton and nekton, and explains how they are interconnected in a food web. You’ll learn that not only are there all sorts of animals in the ocean, but that even the same animal can look and act differently over the course of its life!”
Just like last time, I invited a few other families over for a morning of science. M really enjoys having her friends over to work on school. These units are designed for K – 5th grade and depending on where your kids fall in that range, they will get more or less out of the unit. For the most part, the kids all understood how animals can change their appearance over their life cycle as well as the basics of a food chain and how it works.
Freddie, the main character in the story, undergoes metamorphosis as he gets older in order to look more like his mom and dad. Last spring, most of the kids had watched as a caterpillar went through changes to become a butterfly so they immediately grasped the concept.
The course contents include:
Story – Freddie and His Ocean Friends
The story introduces Freddie and his dad, who explains how Freddie will change as he gets older as well as how all life forms in the ocean (and out) are connected through a food web
Activity 1 – Flinking!
This activity asked the kids to make their plankton. Plankton must float at the right depth of the water to survive – close to the top but not actually on top of the water. I put a tray filled with different objects on the table for them to use. The items I gave them were:
- Sponge, cut into strips
We went through each item first and guessed whether it would sink or float. Then using tape, the kids each created their own plankton by combining the items they thought would work best. Most of them used the same items – a sponge, clothespin and rocks – but each one looked different and floated differently. Once the plankton were created, we put a large bowl of water in the middle of the table and each kid tested their plankton.
The plankton that floated best in the middle of the water was this one:
Even though one went straight to the bottom, the kiddo who created it noticed that it looked just like Freddie’s dad, who does live on the ocean floor so I consider that a win!
The kids loved this activity and I was impressed with how much thought went into each creation.
Activity 2 – Tangled Up in Food Webs
This activity prompts you to use friends or stuffed animals to demonstrate how a food chain works. Kids slightly older than ours would love this activity since it shows how interconnected a food web can be.
Activity 3 – A Food Chain Card Game
This card game lets kids take turns building their own food chains. The chains can be as short or as long as you can make them.
Activity 4 – Make your Own Metamorphosis
For this activity, each kid was given a piece of cardstock with 4 circles on it plus a table full of markers. We started by talking about how some animals, such as Freddie, butterflies and frogs, undergo metamorphosis as they get older. I then asked each kid to create his or her own animal that looks different at each stage of life – egg/baby, child and adult. The illustrations will be more detailed the older the children are but all kids can have fun creating their own animal.
Once the animals were drawn, I gave them each a box to decorate as their animals home. For older kids, they can create realistic ocean landscapes (or other habitat depending on the animal) but ours just went for decoration. I then hung their animals up by a string in the order of transformation for them to see.
The nerd in me was super excited to see M create her first diorama and you could see the pride in each of their faces as they held up their work!
As another activity that morning, I provided the kids with some simple ocean coloring pages. This was a great way to keep the little ones engaged while the older ones did the actual lesson. I used these but you can easily find a number of other free options with a simple web search.
We also read 999 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura. This is a cute story about a family of frogs that illustrated both the metamorphosis of frogs as well as the idea of food chains.
Overall, this was a great unit that the kids were able to understand and enjoy. I look forward to doing another one with them after the holidays!
If you want to see the other Be Naturally Curious units we’ve completed, check out below.