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Why Apologia Swimming Creatures is our Favorite Elementary Science Curriculum

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Apologia Swimming Creatures Lapbook Crafts Field Trips

Apologia Swimming Creatures

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!

Science Experiments and Projects:

Making ocean currents:

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



Making a salt crystal brittle star:


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Making a shell collection box:



How to Make Ocean Boxes:


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If you’ve never made a diorama, check out How to Make a Diorama.








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Other crafts you could do include this printable starfish craft. Here’s an octopus yarn craft that would be fun to include, too. And, you’ll love this Ocean Animal Craft with Free Templates.

Apologia Swimming Creatures Notebooking Journals

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.

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Swimming Creatures Field Trip

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:

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

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Recommended Resource

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 Amazon. 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!


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

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  1. Homeschool Parenting Summit 2.0 October 16-21, 2023
  2. I love it! It looks like you had a great study. I love seeing how all your kids are learning together. I’m anxious to start using these Apologia books. I was thinking about using one this summer, but I think I’ll wait a year =)

  3. Antionette says:

    We also used this book for our science this year. It was our first year, so my scheduling wasn’t the best. Needless to say, we didn’t complete it, but we are working through it over the summer! We bought annual passes to the aquarium where we live and we went a lot and have learned. They also had homeschool classes that they offered for a small fee for each student. It was a great addition to our curriculum (one of my kids did a squid dissection!). The kids have really enjoyed this book and don’t mind that we are taking our time! I like how you had each group of kids doing different assignments. I might have to use that with the next lesson! Thank you so much for posting! It is encouraging for this newbie homeschool mom!

  4. We just started using this book yesterday! We don’t keep to the school year, we just pick and go and work year round. I am so excited to find this post, and I’m going to pin it for future reference! 🙂

  5. Great post!! We are getting ready to use this book for our family science this upcoming year and are really looking forward to it! It looks like your family really enjoyed it:)

  6. Great post!! We are getting ready to use this book for our family science this upcoming year and are really looking forward to it! It looks like your family really enjoyed it:)

  7. We still aren’t finished with our science for the year, which is why I never wrote a round up post 🙂

    Looks like you had a great year. I do the same thing and create a pinterest board for the year, to help me find ideas.

    Thanks for linking to Science Sunday!

  8. What a cool unit! I’ve heard great things about the Apologia units. Looks like your crew had a ton of fun and learned so many things that will stay with them always. Thanks for sharing – they did a fabulous job on their ocean boxes and notebooks.

  9. We’ve been working our way through the swimming creatures as well and LOVE it. This was our first experience with Apologia/living textbooks and we are…well, pun unintended…hooked. LOL Thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from the Ultimate Homeschool Blog Hop.

  10. Just saw your post on Apologia’s facebook page. How fun! Your kids are adorable and I love the Model Magic art.
    We’re planning to cover anatomy this year but water creatures are my favorites!
    Have you tried the junior notebooks from Apologia? My oldest son (8) struggles with writing and I don’t want to burden him. Is it easy to adapt the full notebook for younger kids (as you seemed to do)? and, do I need a notebook for each student? (I’m expecting my 6th and love reusing school books)
    Thanks and blessings on your new school year. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’ve used the junior and the older kid notebooks. Yes, you can adapt the older notebook for the younger kids. I didn’t get a notebook for each kid because I had different kids who did different parts of it. Some did coloring pages, another did crossword puzzles, only 2 did the lapbooking (which was great because I had 2 of the notebooks.) Occasionally, I made some copies for other kids to do something. Jeanne Fulbright told me it was OK to do this, but it wouldn’t be cost-effective to copy a whole notebook. 🙂

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