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Tidepool Treasures

School: High Tech Elementary North County

City/State: San Marcos, CA

Grade(s): K, 1

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This 12-week project engaged kindergarten and first-grade students in learning about the natural phenomena of tides and the tidepool habitat. Students became experts through authentic field experiences, discussions with professionals, practicing purposeful scientific inquiry, and participating in the critique and revision process. Throughout this project, students developed essential reading, writing, math, and collaborative skills to communicate their learning, and share with others. First graders studied the natural phenomena that is responsible for creating the tidepools. By exploring the relationships and patterns between the Earth, Sun, Moon, and our Ocean, students reflected on the driving question: "How can we, as first-grade scientists, create a product that helps others understand tides and tidepools?" Kindergartners studied about the tidepool habitat and the relationships between the living and nonliving features in our local tide pools. Students focused on the essential question: “What do animals need to survive?" And the driving question: "How can we, as animal experts, teach others how to protect the animals that live in the tidepool habitat?" 

The box featured above was assembled by teachers (the first graders made their own suitcase style boxes at Maker Place prior to the Tidepool Project, which inspired the case for the Tidepool kit). The contents of the kit were designed, written, painted, and drawn by the students.  

All artwork was scanned by adults and made into vector images. The images were also made available to the first graders, and students inserted images and text into Google Draw layouts for each of the mats. The images were also used by adults to burn wood, cut wood shapes,and print images (only trained adults or high school students are allowed to use the machine, although the first graders visited the maker space at the high school to see the machine in action and to see how the files were created and loaded into the computer that talks to the machine to cut the wood).

For the mats, the students created paper prototypes of the layouts, then used Google Draw to insert text boxes and final digital images (scanned by adults, made into vector images and made available through Google Drive). The wood pieces with animal images were cut and glued by adults, using the Kindergarteners' digitized artwork. For future kits, the students will do this work. The mats were printed and laminated by teachers. 


How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Excellent example of multiple products in one project: first graders write and create learning tools that explain tides, lunar patterns, and the local tidepool habitat while kindergartners write "All About- Books" for their tidepool animals and create a whole class informational text explaining the adaptations of these sea creatures
  • Beautifully crafted interdisciplinary Math/ Science/Literacy/ Art project
  • Shining example of creative application in the learning kit and individual tools within

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