Review: Paddle-to-the-Sea, is the story of a carved wooden toy boat, placed in the melting spring snows above Lake Superior. As the season progresses, Paddle travels down brook, pond, river and lake. He travels past beaver dams, saw mills, fishing wharfs, canals and forest fires. Large color illustrations depict the dramatic scenes, and often the margins serve as more of an atlas, showing maps, diagrams and facts of the regions the boat passes through. Although originally published in 1941, this is still an excellent book to use when discussing major routes of transportation, history, shipping and the connection between major rivers and oceans for first through sixth graders.
The Great Lakes have surfing, beachcombing, fishing tournaments, invasive species, reefs, dunes, coastal erosion, huge storms, wetlands, and water level fluctuations that exceed some tidal ranges. We also have seaports and shipping, shipwrecks, chanteys, a Sea Grant, a Marine Protected Area, a Marine Sanctuary, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, and a Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE)! The Great Lakes are recognized by Federal law as the nations fourth seacoast (U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, 2004).
From the plight of manatees to the threat of global warming inundating our coastlines, there is no shortage of environmental issues to examine with your students. Time is the much greater challenge.
Two free resources are presented here that foster students connection to oceans while promoting solid academic content. The potential each offers for a multi-disciplinary focus gives you hooks into other subjects, enabling ocean studies to spread across the curriculum.