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Pre-K Lesson: Keeping the Ocean Clean

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 7/12/2012

What can kids do to keep the ocean clean? Do you have to live close to an ocean to keep it clean? These and other ideas for a clean environment are offered as pre K activities. Keeping the ocean clean is an important job that even little ones can help with!

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    Here’s a cool fact that may get your students attention. The Water Education Foundation says, “The water you drank this morning might have been the same water a dinosaur drank millions of years ago!” That’s why it is important to take care of the Earth’s water and promote an all around clean environment.14565757 

    Begin the pre K activities - Keeping the Ocean Clean - by reading Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A message from Chief Seattle with magnificent illustrations by Susan Jeffers. The book will give a general message to students that it is important to take care of every aspect of our Earth. Specifically, in terms of water-oceans and rivers- the chief says, “They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. You must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother.”

    Discuss with the children what the chief means. What kind of food do we get from rivers and oceans? What other reasons make oceans important? Oceans provide a means of transporting goods and people, too. The ocean provides a place to relax and have fun.

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    Have You Been to the Ocean?

    Take a survey of your students to see who has been to the ocean. What do your students know about the ocean? Write down a list of facts that your students contribute. A sample might be:

    • There are sharks and whales in the ocean.
    • There is a sandy beach by the ocean.
    • There are big waves.

    A Swim Through the Sea, by Kristin Joy Pratt, can be used. It has an A through Z guide of ocean creatures with descriptions and illustrations.

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    But We Don't Live Near the Ocean!

    Use a map that clearly shows rivers on it. Show students how rivers flow into the oceans. That means that the trash we throw in the river or leave on the shore will eventually reach the oceans and harm the wildlife. Even though we don’t live close to rivers or oceans, we still use water every day and we all need to be accountable to keeping the Earth clean.

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    What Can We Do?

    Kids:

    The water that comes into our homes has been treated and is clean. We need to take steps not to waste the water.

    1. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Conserve water when washing hands.

    2. Spend less time in the shower.

    3. If you are at the ocean, only collect shells that are empty. Leave living creatures where you find them.

    4. When walking through sandy dunes, do not break or damage plants in the area. It could be an animal home.

    5. Color these pages (coloring book:click here) and pass them out to remind people of ways they can help.

    Family:

    1. Don't run the dishwasher unless it is full.

    2. Recycle! Many things can be made from recycled products. Every family member can help.

    3. When at a beach or on the water, never leave trash of any kind behind.

    4. Join a zoo or aquarium. These places do research to protect wildlife.

    5. Turn the hose off while washing the car until you actually need the water.

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    Role Play to Practice the Tips

    Set up short scenarios and choose students to act out the parts. Students need to imagine what they would say and do in each case. Remind them to be respectful when reminding others to help the Earth.

    Here are some examples:

    1. Mom needs help carrying out the recycle bins.

    2. You throw a plastic drink bottle in to the ocean while fishing. What will the fish say?

    3. Your big sister takes too long in the shower.

    4. The family leaves some food wrappers on the beach after the picnic. What will the seagulls say?

    5. Your little brother is learning to brush his teeth.

    6.You and your brother are washing the family car. Your brother wants to squirt you with the hose.

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    14985071 To complete the Pre K activities - Keeping the Ocean Clean - read the book What the Sea Saw, by Stephanie St. Pierre. It is beautifully illustrated and stresses the connection of the ecosystems and how to have a clean environment. Make sure that you use the tips you've learned right there in the classroom: 1) encourage recycling; 2) save water when washing hands.