Predators of the Sea......Gentle or Fierce?

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SWBAT determine shark adaptations by classifying their function and purpose.

Big Idea

Sharks are an interesting animals; graceful, beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. This lesson will discover some of the wonder of these amazing creatures, while connecting some of their adaptations (migration) to those of other sea creatures.

Setting the Stage

5 minutes

This lesson follows the lesson on Whales.  It is important that the two lessons coincide together in order to teach the students that many varieties of animals migrate.  If you choose to only teach one lesson on a particular animal and it's migration pattern, be sure to mention that many others will follow this same type of survival skill.  If you do not address this, you may run the risk of teaching a misconception.

The lesson follows much of the same pattern as the whale lesson, it begins with a hook and moves into new information and concludes with a wrap up of all the information together. 

I have been fortunate to travel and gather many artifacts to bring back to my classroom for teaching purposes.  This lesson takes advantage of some of my travel treasures.....

a shark in a bottle

shark teeth

shark mouth with teeth

This lesson can still be accomplished without these artifacts, however, they do tend to make the lesson much richer when the children can see and touch the real thing.  


5 minutes

I show the students my shark in a bottle; a souvenir from a recent trip to North Carolina.  I explain that we are going to be learning about another sea animal, but I really cannot bring a live specimen in to share with the students. So my shark in a bottle will have to do.  

The children are is a different and very cool to look at. The features are clear and defined, making it easy to envision what a larger shark may look like up close.  

I ask the children if they have ever seen a shark at a zoo or aquarium.  I am careful to ask them to raise their hand if they have.  Avoiding the dreaded vortex of sharing all their experiences, ensures I won't make it through my lesson....If many hands are raised, I ask the children to turn to a shoulder buddy and share for a quick minute where they saw the shark and what their experience was like. Doing this values the story or connection, but saves valuable teaching time. 

When all stories are finished, I get my big book of the Shark Song. A song that is free on the Math Learning Center Resource page.  I love to use music and chants to grab the students or to ensure that the students will remember the language or skills I want to teach or reinforce.  

We sing the song together and then I pass out a smaller version that I have reduced in size for the children to have as their own.  We sing the song several times.  The tune is easy and simple to pick up.  

I want the children to have some background knowledge of the shark.  I am hoping they will make some connections on their own between the whale and the shark.  


10 minutes

This part of the lesson is out of order from the 5E model.  I need to be able to give the students a bit more background knowledge to accomplish the task of determining what is an adaptation and the purpose of function of that adaptation.  Because of this need, I am front loading information first and then moving to the activity. 

I open the Shark Power Point and begin to read the information to the children.  Along the way, we stop and have conversation about different aspects of the sharks body and survival skills.  I chose to use the word invertebrate in the book to introduce the idea of animal classification more scientifically.  This will lead to further lessons later.  

Slide five specifically deals with the teeth of the sharks and the purpose of those sharp teeth.  At this point, I will introduce and show my students the shark teeth I have collected over the years.  These shark teeth will be placed on our observation table after the lesson and available for the students to observe, sketch and write about if they choose at other times of the school day. 

I continue to read and share the new information with the children through the power point.  

Slide seven has a video clip embedded within (it is included below). I chose to use this video clip because it focuses specifically on what the sharks eat. One piece of information I discovered while researching, was that Nurse Sharks will eat sea stars.  I found this amazing.  It also lends itself nicely to a connection that will take place in the Sea Stars, Divas of the Sea lesson that follows this lesson. 

Slide eight craftily explains that some sharks will migrate....this is the biggest piece of information I want the children to pull from this lesson.  Immediately, I hear the children say, "Just like whales!" Success, that is what I am looking for.  

Slide nine discusses where sharks can live and survive. I love this slide because it introduces a critical new word, brackish waters. The children love this phrase and it is great because they instantly make the leap back to the whale lesson.  



15 minutes

When we have finished reading the Shark Power Point, the children are just oozing with excitement. I show them Slide ten.  This slide shows a simple empty T chart.  

I explain to the children that they are going to work in their teams without any direction from me. Their task is to remember all the adaptations they can about the sharks from the song and the book we read on the screen and document what they can remember.  If they struggle to remember any information, I encourage them to use the song book or to access any books that might have information for them in our classroom library.  

I remind them about being solid team members, and sharing the work load.  The team leader gets out the team pouch which keeps the colored markers inside and they are passed to each team member. I pass out the page, I have enlarged on 11" X 18" paper.  The children are anxious to get busy and begin their work.  


15 minutes

After all the charts have been completed, I gather all the children around and we look at the anchor chart.  I explain to them that we have learned some new information about whales and shark and now it is time to pull all that learning together.  

The anchor chart is empty and I have purposely left off the bottom animal.  I want to create some anticipation in the children as to what the next creature may be that we are going to investigate.  

The children help me fill in the information addressing the whales and the sharks.  In this way, I can evaluate what they have learned from both lessons.