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The ocean has been in the news, which is why we are excited about this new middle grade book. From Josh and Bethanie Hestermann (the team that brought us Zoology for Kids),  we have Marine Science for Kids: Exploring and Protecting Our Watery World, Includes Cool Careers and 21 Activities with a foreword by Stephanie Arne.

This is one of the fantastic Chicago Review Press books that combine great information with fun hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Throw in beautiful color photographs of awesome animals and mini-biographies of marine science professionals, and you have a treasure trove for middle grade readers.

The book starts with a time line of some important historical events in the field of marine science, with references to discoveries made and boundaries pushed by the likes of Jacques Cousteau, Marie Tharp, and Sylvia Earle.

Then right off the bat, the reader learns what marine science is. Did you know marine scientists study not only saltwater creatures in oceans, but also those found in rivers and lakes?

Now the reader can hop to the chapter that covers their favorite habitat, such as the coast or deep ocean, or they can read from cover to cover. There's so much to discover.

Activities from the book include:

  1. Building a water molecule
  2. Making an edible coral reef
  3. Exploring marine camouflage
  4. Constructing a water-propelled squid
  5. Testing methods for cleaning up an oil spill, etc.

With a glossary, resource list, and selected bibliography, this book is a useful reference for planning lessons beyond the book, as well.

Marine Science for Kids is a must have for budding marine scientists, but will also entrance young readers interested in animals or the environment. It is a fabulous reference for educators, too.

Activity Inspired by Marine Science for Kids:

Hurricanes are violent forms of weather on land, but what happens underwater?

Many things happen as winds churn the ocean water and rain falls. These changes can harm the organisms living there.

Hurricanes cause major changes underwater:

  • Strong water currents and waves
  • Rapid mixing of temperatures and salinity - top water is cooler and more salty than it usually is, lower layers are warmer and less salty.
  • Reduced amounts of dissolved oxygen in the surface water
  • More suspended particles, silt
  • Movement of sand

Usually the larger fish that are strong swimmers, such as sharks, can swim away. But slower or sessile creatures take a pounding. Some are killed.

Activity:

Watch the following video of a coral reef underwater during a hurricane. Make notes of the things you see. Then compare to the ReefCam today. What changes do you notice?

References:

What Happens Underwater University of Miami Rosenstiel School

Other Marine Science Activities (from this blog):

  1. Humpback whales (with three activities)
  2. Jellyfish (with craft activity)
  3. Learn about Steller Sea Lions
  4. Sea Horses and Other Fish
  5. Shore Birds
  6. Tide Pool Invertebrates
  7. Fish (with three activities)

For a bunch of ocean-themed lesson plans, try the Ocean Portal.

 

Looking for more? Try our growing list of children's books about marine science at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1613735367
ISBN-13: 978-1613735367

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

I've probably mentioned this before, but one reason to publish blog posts like this is to have a diary of events over the seasons and years.

For example, remember the monarch caterpillar from a few weeks ago?

Now I have a record there were monarch caterpillars active the week of October 18, 2017.

Last week I discovered a newly emerged monarch butterfly drying its wings.


It was only a few feet from where I took the photograph of the caterpillar.

Wouldn't it be cool if it was the same insect? Or perhaps its one of the caterpillar's siblings?

In any case, it is a male. You can tell from the scent gland on its hind wing. It flew away shortly afterwards.

Wonder where it is this week.

Have you seen any monarchs?

At first glance, this little wasp might look like a yellow jacket.

That is, until you spot the bright orange antennae.

It is actually a European paper wasp, Polistes dominula.

The European paper wasp showed up on the East Coast of the United States in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It has been spreading across North America since.

Public domain photograph by Gary Alpert (Wikimedia)

These wasps build their paper nests out of processed wood bits. They nest under eaves and in similar areas around houses. Paper wasps are less defensive than yellow jackets, for the most part, unless a person gets close to their nest.

In contrast, the eastern yellow jacket, Vespula maculifrons, has black antennae. They nest underground and can be quite defensive if disturbed.

I'm not sure why the paper wasp in the top two photographs has a brown discoloration on the abdomen. It also looks like the wings are damaged. It was trapped inside a greenhouse, where maybe it was looking for weathered wood to build its nest? Perhaps it hurt itself trying to get out?

Have you ever seen European paper wasps where you live?