II. Curriculum Overview
+ What are ways in which you can sort or separate objects?
+ How can you determine what is similar or different?
+ What does it look like to have more or less of particular objects?
+ What characteristics are common to sea creatures?
+ What is the concept of ten (or more)?
The essential questions (listed above) are critical concepts for students to learn/comprehend because they combine mathematical strategies (sorting, grouping), with the concept of real world
significance. For instance, rather than simply learning facts about sea creatures, students are instead
able to couple sea creature facts with math techniques that will allow them to better understand
what sets one sea creature apart from another. An example of this (as demonstrated by my
students) occurred when students sorted sea creatures by “fins or no fins”. This separation strategy
provided them with an opportunity to apply their sorting and grouping skills, but it also taught them
which sea creatures had fins and which did not.
Another example in which students were able to pair their mathematical strategies with
their learning about sea creatures occurred during in an activity called “ten or more”. Students used
this time to place sea creatures on tens frames, make an estimation as to how many creatures they
thought they had, and then compare their findings with a partner. Once the students compared their
findings, they checked their work (counted the number of creatures they actually had), then
explained “who had more” and “who had less”. This gave students an opportunity to practice their
concepts of ten or more, as each tens frame represented ten objects. The goal of the activity was to
teach students that they could group objects in tens, and then they would not need to count objects
individually. This technique was carried over throughout the unit, so students could easily group
and count their sea creatures. After practicing with tens frames and sorting, students had an easier
time evaluating and analyzing problems regarding sea creatures, such as with sea creature problem
creations, sea creature dramas, and sea creature sorting.
Pre-requisite Skills of Students
Throughout the sea creature unit, students were expected to apply the following
⇢Ability to make estimations
⇢Speaking and listening skills
⇢“Five Star” audience skills (ears listening, mouths closed, legs crossed, hands in lap).
⇢Ability to follow directions and demonstrate self-regulating behaviors
⇢Ability to cut, paste, and categorize
⇢Willingness to work collaboratively
Throughout the unit, students will be immersed in rich vocabulary about sea creatures. Ways in which vocabulary will be taught and reinforced are through singing, poems, story books, discussion, and fact cards. The fact cards (which have been created by the instructor) will have a sea creature one one side, along with facts and information about the sea creature on the reverse side. This strategy (as used with English Language Learners), is intended to make difficult words, phrases, and facts, more accessible to the kindergarten students. The following is a list of vocabulary that the students studied throughout the unit:
Sea Horse, Shark, Whale, Seal, Octopus
The corresponding picture and textual definitions of each animal can be found on the corresponding photographs.
The Oregon State Standards (as aligned to the Common Core) from multiple disciplines were addressed in this Sea Creatures Unit. Those standards (relating to what concepts, knowledge, and skills student should attain) are detailed (alongside individual lesson objectives) in the lesson plans displayed within Domain III.