Creepy Crawly Critters: The Starfish 2017

Dear Parents,

Today we began this session of Creepy, Crawly, Critters by investigating the concept of classification (the grouping of things according to characteristics). Scientists classify animals into groups just like we organize or classify items in our home!

In the lab the children were given a bin full of utensils, plastic food and dishes. We presented some questions. What is in the bin? How are these items the same? How are these items different? How can we organize them so that they make sense?  We dug into the bins and sorting began. After organizing, each group explained to the class the method they used to classify their items. We learned that our items could be classified by use, color or shape. Next we decided to be scientists and classify some animals. We know that scientists classify animals by their similarities. Each group was given another bin. This time it was full of animals! The children, together, discussed the characteristics they would use to classify their bin of animals. When finished they presented their animal classification system to their peers.

We read parts of the book, Classifying Invertebrates by Francine Glako and learned that some animals do not have a backbone! One of the characteristics that scientists use to classify animals is whether it has a backbone or not. We passed out photos of different animals and together classified these animals into two groups; vertebrates and invertebrates. After classifying our animals we read Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish by Janet Halfmann. Most sea stars sport spiny skin and five arms, although some can grow as many as 50 arms. The arms are covered with pincer-like organs and suckers that allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor. Light-sensitive eyespots on the tips of the arms help the sea star find food. Favorites on their menu include mollusks such as clams, oysters, and snails. The sea star eats by attaching to prey and extending its stomach out through its mouth. Sea stars can grow a new arm if they lose one, although sea stars generally have few predators thanks to their rigid bodies.

Exploration today focused on classification and under the sea play, inspired by our creepy, crawly critter~ the starfish!

Science Experiment:  We sorted and classified kitchen items, then animals. This process caused us to look carefully at each individual item’s attributes!

Projects:  We used oil pastels and pasta to create our very own starfish!

At the easel we could draw a picture using crayons then move our picture to the table and add a water color wash.

Math and Science Table: We created with loose parts today!

Table Play:  Our Polly Pockets docked their cruise ship so that the Polly’s could come ashore and explore the tidal pools along the coast! We used our fuzzy sea creatures, our blue rug (to act as a tide pool), some shells and smooth stones.

Sensory Play: Sensory play today was a tide pool. We tinted our water blue, added our sea creatures along with various rocks, seashells and seaweed.

Dramatic Play: We opened the kitchen for dramatic play. We presented the children with what can only be described as a “hot mess” that included bins of utensils, food, plates and cups. We challenged the children to organize the space. It was fun to see how they chose to classify the items.

Floor Play:  We played with our Little Mermaid toys and our Imaginext Pirate ship!

Snack: We provided the children with a snack mix (Golden Graham cereal, mini marshmallows and some mini chocolate chips). We encouraged them to sort or classify their snack then eat it. Playing with your food can be educational!

Light table: We traced today! We had the opportunity to add color to our creation at the easel.


Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish by Janet Halfmann

The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid



Coleen and Jodi