Seahorse Reef Lesson Plan
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
Seahorse Reef: A Story of the South Pacific provides a wealth of information about seahorses. After reading the story, create an informational wall display with language charts and children's writing responses and drawings to document their learning experience.
Subject Areas: Science, Language Arts
This informative book by the Smithsonian Institution follows a few days in the life of a male sea horse in the coral reefs of the Central Philippines. Children will learn about the habitat, life cycle, predators, and prey of sea horses in addition to facts about other sea life that inhabit the coral reefs. The end of the book contains facts about sea horses, a glossary, and points of interests that can be found in the book.
Children will respond to the story through group discussions and writing activities to develop an understanding of the characteristics of seahorses. They will also learn about other types of sea life that inhabit the barrier reef.
- Seahorse Reef: A Story of the South Pacific by Sally M. Walker
- Chart paper
- Lined story paper
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Pencils for writing
- Show the class the book Seahorse Reef: A Story of the South Pacific and ask them to share what they already know about seahorses.
- Have them look at the cover illustration and describe what they see.
- Why do they think this sea animal is called a "seahorse"?
- Do they know what a reef is or what coral is?
- Using a world map or globe, help them to locate the Philippine islands. Encourage them to notice the body of water that surrounds the Philippines.
Post-Reading Booktalk: Fiction and Nonfiction
- After reading the book, ask the children to summarize the story.
- As students, is this a fiction or nonfiction book? Can fiction books also teach us facts? Discuss the difference between fiction and nonfiction.
Part I: Facts About Seahorses
Step 1: Tell the children that they will listen to the story again to develop an informational chart listing facts about seahorses.
Step 2: After reading each page, ask the class to identify specific seahorse facts. Ask them to name the characteristics that are specific to males and females. Record the facts on your chart.
Step 3: Include information about the seahorse's body parts and the ways in which they can move their bodies. Ask them to describe how and what seahorses eat and how they protect themselves from danger. Encourage them to explain what camouflage is.
Step 4: Review the completed chart with the class. Give everyone lined story paper and pencils and ask them to write a sentence or two describing something that they found interesting about a seahorse.
Step 5: Reread the children's writings and assist them in editing their work. Provide students with art materials to create an illustration to support their writing while you meet with individual students.
Step 6: Invite them to share their work.
Step 7: Display the chart and the children's writings.
Part II: Types of Sea Life in the Barrier Reef
Step 1: Reread the book and invite the class to list all the different types of sea life that inhabit the barrier reef. Record students' answers on a sheet of chart paper, leaving space to add characteristics of some of the sea life.
Step 2: Ask students the following questions (or your own) about various types of barrier reef sea life:
- Which creatures are prey or predators?
- What interesting facts did the students learn about the parrot fish?
- How does the moray eel stay healthy?
Step 3: Invite the class to write and draw about one of the sea animals on their list.
Step 4: Work with the children to edit their writing before sharing their finished work with their classmates.
Step 5: Include all of their work in the classroom display.
- Invite the children to create a mural about the sea life depicted in the book. Review the book together, noting the various types of coral, plant life, and sea animals and their characteristics. Use both collage and direct painting techniques to create the mural.
- Plan a trip to a local aquarium or museum to learn more about sea life and coral reefs.
- Invite an expert to speak to the class about sea life in coral reefs.
- Collect books and artifacts to enhance your classroom science area.
Other Books About Sea Horses
Clinging Sea Horses by Judith Jango-Cohen
Easy-to-read text along with full-color photographs introduce young children to the fascinating world of seahorses.
The Sign of the Seahorse by Graeme Base
An underwater tale of intrigue and suspense reveals a shady real estate plot that threatens the inhabitants of a coral reef.
One Lonely Sea Horse by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
The creators of How Are You Peeling? use fruits and vegetables to illustrate the tale of a lonely seahorse. Snip the seahorse ventures through the ocean to meet a variety of friends. Counting concepts presented in the book will reinforce math skills.
Other Books by Sally M. Walker
Teaching plan written by Risa Young.