Our Ocean Dive box from Experience Early Learning has us exploring Small Sea Creatures this week and one of our STEAM stations was Seashell Sorting. Not only did it incorporate science (comparing/ nature items) but also math (sorting/ counting).
Here’s how I kept my kiddos busy for about an hour and they had a blast learning!
Can you sort the shells?
Experience Early Learning sent us this graphic of all sorts of common shells and their names! Good thing too because I only knew a clam shell.
I had a box of shells from my mother in law from years ago and they have been stored away. I pulled them out at the beginning of this month of learning and have used them as Shark’s Teeth, fun items to trace, and now for a sorting STEAM station.
Pretty self explanatory here…. but the kids just sort the shells.
Now they could sort them in all sorts of ways: color, size, type, ect; however since we had this great graphic from EEL and some of most all of these shells, the kids decided to sort them by type.
We had a billion (not really) little tiny shells that took them forever to sort, but the beautiful thing about these shells is that each one is different. The kids never tired of sorting the shells because each one looked unique. Their discussions were a treat to eavesdrop on.
“Look at this one!”
“Which one do you think it is?”
” Oh, look! It’s missing its top, but I think it is a tower shell!”
Counting and Charting
With little preschoolers, you could totally stop right there after the sorting. However, my girl is 6 and my 3 year old can count to 20 easily, so counting and charting was a great extension for them to do together.
With my help, my girl created a T-chart by copying the names of the shells from our graphic in one column and the other column was to write the amount of shells we had of that particular kind.
Little brother helped with the counting.
When it came to the Alphabet Cone shell, there were so many! I suggested my girl sort them into groups of 10 to help her count them more easily. Brother did a great job with this task as well. We ended up with 136 of these shells! Those little ones add up.
I love it when they have so much fun learning and don’t even realize they are “doing math” or “doing school;” they are just having fun learning.
And that is exactly as it should be.