Apologia Swimming Creatures Final Post

Apologia Swimming Creatures Lapbook Crafts Field Trips

We had an absolutely wonderful time studying science this year using Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.  This was the fourth of the elementary Exploring Creation books that we have done.  And I have loved all of them!  Jeanne Fulbright loves the Lord and brings her understanding of God’s creation to all of her readers.  We become fascinated with not only what He made but how he made everything!  We also learn about what evolutionists think about things and how we understand it differently.  For example, evolutionists would say the ocean is billions of years old.  But since the oceans are becoming saltier, if they were really that old, they would be too salty for life by now.  Also, many scientists think jellyfish are “simple” animals, but their nematocysts are so amazingly complex that only an infinitely intelligent Designer could have made them.

See below some pictures of the experiments we did (using the great experiment supply box from Nature’s Workshop Plus), the ocean boxes we created, and the lapbooks we made!  I put a lot of great ideas on my Swimming Creatures Pinterest Board–be sure to follow it!



Making ocean currents:

L birthday 001


Learning how octopus and squid rise and fall in the water:



Making a salt crystal brittle star:


growing beans 005


Making a shell collection box:



Ocean Boxes:


birthday 048

birthday 047

birthday, ocean box, Easter Prayer 042

birthday, ocean box, Easter Prayer 043

birthday 044

birthday, ocean box, Easter Prayer 044

birthday 051








Ocean Boxes-Rays and Sharks 011

Ocean Boxes-Rays and Sharks 021

L birthday 024

L birthday 011


Here are the links to my previous posts this year:

Introduction to Swimming Creatures/ Ideas for each ocean box lesson, including supplies

Starting the Ocean Boxes

 Tube Anemones, sponges, octopus, sea urchin

Rays and Sharks

 Starfish, Squid, Octopus

Top Ten Whale and Walrus YouTube Videos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


From the Archives:  Oceans Unit Study and Lapbook


We used the Apologia Swimming Creatures Notebooking Journals, which are really well done.  The youngest kids did the coloring sheets, the middle kids the lapbook, and the oldest did notebooking pages and crossword puzzles of the vocabulary words.  Below you’ll see pictures of the lapbooks of two of my kids.

Apologia Zoology 2 Lapbook 002 Apologia Zoology 2 Lapbook 003 Apologia Zoology 2 Lapbook 005  Apologia Zoology 2 Lapbook 007 Apologia Zoology 2 Lapbook 008 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 009 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 010 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 011 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 012 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 013 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 014 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 015 Apologia Zoology 2 lapbook 016

We have one more thing to do wrap up our study, and that is to visit an aquarium!  We’re planning to do that when we go on our road trip this summer.

Update:  We went to the Omaha Aquarium, and it was awesome.  Here are a few pictures, but see the rest at Vacation Post #1.

Giant Japanese Spider Crabs:

Nebraska,Colorado Vacation 064



There was an awesome tunnel to see sharks, sea turtles, and rays:


Nebraska,Colorado Vacation 076


Nebraska,Colorado Vacation 080



Nebraska,Colorado Vacation 082 Nebraska,Colorado Vacation 084



By the way, many of the animals in our ocean boxes were made with Crayola Model Magic.  Crayola Model Magic is an amazing invention! I don’t regret one bit ordering a class-pack of 75 individual packages for my kids to use this year. We got a great deal on it at Discount School Supply!  If you’ve never tried it, it’s like clay but not messy at all.  You can color it with markers, and it dries in 24 hours.  My kids love it!

Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic Classpack


Linked to   at My Joy Filled Life

   Ultimate Homeschool Blog Hop  at Teachers of Good Things

See all the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here!

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

Studying whales and walruses with YouTube

Build Your Bundle 2015 Pre-Sale Giveaway
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We’re studying ocean animals this year and have found YouTube to be a great resource!  Here are my Top Ten favorite whale and walrus videos.

(By the way, the picture above was taken by me of a beluga whale at the Shedd Aquarium–one of my favorite places!)


Young Humpback Whale Breaching

Swimming With Sperm Whales

Spyhopping Killer Whales

Lobtailing humpback whales

Beluga whale giving birth


News Reports about Humphrey from 1985.  He’s a humpback whale who mistakenly swam up the Sacramento River.

 Killer whales attack and kill minke whale (a little graphic)

And a couple of my favorite animal:  The Walrus!

Walrus and mommy

Walrus exercising


Ocean Boxes- Lesson 2

My kids beg to work on these Ocean Boxes almost every day, but I can usually hold them off until Fridays.  :)

Compare with the last update to see how much they’ve added since last time!


Love the squid!


Sea urchin:



Tube anemones:



Adorable octopus at the bottom of this one:



We added sponges here:



My 5-year-old is pretty creative with the colorful shark on the ocean floor:



Here is my 3-year-old did this one:



There’s a sea turtle floating on the surface of this one:



As I’ve said before, the Crayola Model Magic is incredible for doing projects like these!
Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic Classpack


A lot of the ideas for how to make the animals came from watching this movie, IMAX Deep Sea.   I’ll share some of the other books and videos we’ve watched so far next time.  See our past Ocean box posts here and here.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

(contains affiliate links)

Ocean Boxes (dioramas)- Lesson 1

We started making our ocean boxes today (Wednesday).  We were “supposed” to start on them on Friday, but after a lot of begging, I relented!  One of the joys of homeschooling–being able to adjust the schedule when needed.  The first lesson was to cover the box in blue (we used a combination of blue contact paper, construction paper, and blue painter’s tape).  Then we were going to just make the ocean floor–rocks, volcanos, hills, etc.  Some of the kids got so excited over using the Model Magic that they made a bunch of ocean animals, too!

I love how my daughter made part of the jellyfish sticking up above the water. We learned that Lion’s Mane Jellyfish can grow longer than blue whales!


There is a lot of empty space in the box because we have A LOT more animals to make.  See this post for our plans.

Here are the other kids’ boxes.  (Yes, my three-year-old made snow men for hers–the last box below).

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


Crayola Model Magic is an amazing invention! I don’t regret one bit ordering a class-pack of 75 individual packages for my kids to use this year. We got a great deal on it at Discount School Supply!  If you’ve never tried it, it’s like clay but not messy at all.  You can color it with markers, and it dries in 24 hours.  My kids love it!

Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic Classpack


(contains affiliate links)

Ocean Boxes (dioramas) for Apologia Zoology 2 Swimming Creatures

For science this year we will be studying Swimming Creatures using Apologia’s Zoology 2 text.  One project the kids and I are excited about is making ocean boxes, a.k.a. dioramas.  We made some simple ones four years ago, but this year they will be a bit more elaborate.

For each chapter they will make another animal that they studied.  I’ve been saving diaper boxes, so that each child will have their own.  Below is the plan, including the supplies.  I’m keeping all the supplies in a specified box to help this project go more smoothly.  I found most everything at the dollar store and Wal-Mart (and the blue contact paper at a thrift shop).  I’m going to order the Model Magic (75 1-ounce packages) at a great price from Discount School Supply, which will allow each child to use one packet per animal, if they choose!

Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic Classpack

Join us throughout this year as I share how we made each animal and post pictures of our creations.  (You may want to follow I Choose Joy! through Facebook, Twitter, email, RSS, and or Pinterest.  See sidebar for links.  I also have a special Swimming Creatures Pinterest board.)

Supplies needed:

Scissors, white glue, glue gun, Model Magic, blue contact paper, rocks, colored felt, pompon balls, small clear applesauce containers, egg carton, construction paper, foam sheets, thread, glitter glue, seashells, sand dollars, googly eyes, small feathers, small styrofoam balls, toothpicks, yarn, small balloons, pipe cleaners, straws, paper bags, and a sponge.

Lesson 1:  Cover and line the box with blue contact paper.

Lesson 2:  Whale

Lesson 3:  Seal, walrus, or manatee (sitting in a rock)

Lesson 4:  Sea turtle (egg carton, foam sheets, googly eyes); sea snake (pipe cleaner)

Lesson 5:  Plesiasaur

Lesson 6:  Fish (felt cut-outs decorated with glitter glue, hung with thread)

Lesson 7:  Shark, ray, or lamprey

Lesson 8: Crab (half a styrofoam ball with pipe cleaners and googly eyes)

Lesson 9:  Shell animal like hermit crab, oyster, or snail (use real shell and add the animal with Model Magic)

Lesson 10:  Squid or octopus (brown paper bag)

Lesson 11:  Sea Urchin (styrofoam ball with toothpicks), Sea star (Model Magic), feather star (feathers)

Lesson 12:  Jellyfish (small applesauce container with yarn), man o war (small balloon), anemone (Model Magic with pipe cleaners and paper clownfish

Lesson 13:  Sponge (piece of a sponge), marine tubeworms (straws and feathers)

Arts & Crafts on Any Budget!

(Post contains affiliate links)

Oceans unit study and lapbook

Oceans Unit Study & Lapbook
We’ve come to the end of our Oceans unit study.  There were still a few things that we didn’t do, but it’s time to move on.  (Now we’re studying the Olympics and Deserts.)

Here are some of the things we did.

  • Read many books (listed below)
  • Read Pagoo (Holling), a living book about a hermit crab living in the ocean,
  • Field Trips to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and a local pet store (where we saw hermit crabs),
  • Science experiments from Bill Nye’s Ocean book,
  • Crafts, including making ocean dioramas (from Crafts for Kids Wild About Oceans),
  • Lapbook (materials from Hands of a Child, internet, and other places):  Ocean Habitats and Clownfish Adventure  



Shedd Aquarium Dolphin Show:


Books we read about oceans:

Pagoo (Holling)

Crafts for kids who are wild about oceans (Ross, Kathy)

A walk on the Great Barrier Reef (Arnold, Caroline)

Amazing whales! (Thomson, Sarah L)

Amazing sharks! (Thomson, Sarah L.)

Under the sea 1, 2, 3 : counting ocean life (Knox, Barbara)

Bill Nye the science guy’s big blue ocean (Nye, Bill)

Draw! ocean animals (DuBosque, D. C.)

I wonder why the sea is salty, and other questions about the oceans (Ganeri, Anita)

Finding Nemo [DVD]

The magic school bus on the ocean floor (Cole, Joanna)

Into the sea (Guiberson, Brenda Z)

Big blue whale (Davies, Nicola)

What lives in a shell? (Zoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner)

Manatee winter (Zoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner)

Giant of the sea : a story of a sperm whale (Raff, Courtney Granet)

Dancing on the sand : a story of an Atlantic blue crab  (Hollenbeck, Kathleen M.)

Amazing dolphins! (Thomson, Sarah L)

A home in the coral reef     (Taylor-Butler, Christine)

My first book about fish (Einhorn, Kama)

Surprising sharks  (Davies, Nicola)

Octopus’ den (Langeland, Deirdre)

One tiny turtle (Davies, Nicola)

Orca Song (Michael C. Armour)

Baby Beluga (Raffi)

In the Ocean (Maurice Pledger)

Primates, Insect-Eaters, and Baleen Whales (Encyclopedia of the Animal World)

Whales (Scholastic, A Firs Discovery Book)

Dolly Dolphin Can?t Stop Clicking (Matt Mitter)

Sea Lion Roars (C. Drew Lamm)

Be sure to see this post of a more recent unit we did on oceans for more great ideas!

 (Post contains affiliate links.)