Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Does A Shark Eat?

I just went on an amazing field trip with my daughter's preschool class.  We went to a wonderful facility called EcoAdventures.  Everything in the whole facility was hands-on.  The kids were able to interact with and touch animals in a safe way. 

EcoAdventures had tons of hands-on activities for children.  Keep reading to find out about one of the best activities for exploring the real effects of pollution on marine animals!
The kids were also able to interact with real animals.  Here is one of the amazing animals in her roped off habitat.  This sweet girl was one of the all-time favorites!
 The instructors showed alligator and crocodile skulls to teach children the differences in the way that alligators and crocodiles are built.  The kids used their arms to be round like an alligator and long and pointy like a crocodile.
After viewing the skulls, the instructors brought out baby crocodiles (Forgive me! I believe these were the crocodiles, but they might be alligators.)  The animals had tape around their mouths, so they wouldn't bite the children.  Students were able to take 2 fingers and gently touch the crocodile's backs.
The kids got to touch and interact with a number of other animals: toads, cockroaches, millipedes, hermit crabs.
 And my favorite: the hedgehog!!  He was absolutely adorable and so friendly.  He was a hit with all the kids!
During one of the rotations, we visited the ocean room.  I had to take pictures of the awesome murals all over the walls. 
 You walk in and feel like you are under the sea!
 The favorite animal for most of the kids was to learn about sharks!  They were able to examine and even hold jaws from different types of sharks.
The most exciting part for me was when they brought out their own interactive shark!  Their shark was made out of a soda can box.  He was covered in construction paper and he was WONDERFUL!! 
The instructors filled this shark with all kinds of things that sharks eat.  The shark was filled with plastic animals and trash.  Students learned about the impact of trash on the animals in the ocean.
Each student was able to reach inside the shark and pull out something that a real shark in the ocean might eat.  The students were so animated and excited to reach into the shark and pull out something!!
I decided that I needed to recreate this shark and share him with you.  It is such a wonderful way to teach about the food chain, conservation of the animals and earth, and just to learn about sharks!  Kids are immediately engaged from the idea of reaching into a shark's mouth.  Exhilarating!!!!
Here are my two sharks.  One is made out of a Dr. Pepper can box and the other is made out of a mailing box I received filled with glue sticks.  I covered the smaller box all in foam and the larger box is covered in construction paper and foam.
Start out with your box.  Choose whatever size works for you. 
 Cut off two of the flaps.
Hot glue foam or construction paper over the upper and lower mouth of the shark.
Hot glue foam around the body of the shark.
Cut out the shape for each eye and cut a 1 1/2 inch slit from the bottom of the eye.  You will cut from the bottom 1 1/2 inches up the middle of the eye.
 The slit allows you to attach the eye to the top and side of the shark's face.
 Here are the attached eyes.  Hot glue a large googly eye to the middle of each eye.
Cut out the shape of a tail.  I looked at a plastic shark to get my pattern.  Trace and cut out two pieces of foam for the tail.  Hot glue the two pieces of foam together, but leave the last two inches.  Once the tail is dry, you will put hot glue on the last two inches and place it directly on the rear of the shark. 
 You will attach the dorsal fin the same way. 
 I attached three rows of teeth to the bottom and top of the shark's mouth.  I just cut out triangles and hot glued them to the back of the shark's mouth.  I hot glued them in a staggered pattern.
Here is a rear view of the shark.  I made the tail slightly bent, so it looks like the shark is swimming.  To do this, you will cut out the shape of the tail.  Hot glue the two sides together and hold your hands around the tail to make it curve.  Hold your hands like this until the glue is dry.  The glue will dry in a wavy pattern.
 Now for the fun!!!  Fill your shark with all kinds of things that sharks might eat.  My sharks are filled with seal, sea lions, sting rays, dolphins, octopus, other sharks, fish, crabs, penguins, sea birds, sea turtles.  I had a bunch of plastic animals, tub toys, bean bags, and other stuff.  If you didn't have toys, you could cut out pictures of the animals, or have the students learn about what sharks eat and DRAW their own animals to feed to the shark.
 One of the most important lessons that I felt the instructors brought across is by adding the trash to the shark.  The kids were so confused when they pulled out trash.  Many of them said, "That's not food!". 
Exactly!  Just the lesson we want to teach our kids.  When humans litter or do not recycle, some trash ends up in our oceans.  The kids are able to learn, in a very hands-on way, how littering effects the animals around us.  It made a huge impact on myself and my daughter.  I wanted to share this with you, so you might be able to use some aspects of it with your own children or class.
 Thanks for learning about our sharks named, "Mega" and "Mini".  If you need other ideas for thematic learning about sharks, click on the pictures below:


I'm linking up with Mommy & Me Creations to share what we are doing!  Check out all kinds of other great ideas at her link up.
Mommy and Me Creations


  1. You truly are the queen of the glue gun! Cute ideas! I am going to bank on these come June when we need something fun to keep their attention for just a bit longer! The trip sounded amazing! So great to share that with your daughter!

    1. Now you know why I am holding a glue gun at the top of my page!! My husband says we need a bigger house for all my creations :)

  2. Super cute!! Thank you for sharing!! :) I found you on Teacher Tuesday!!
    Brinca Into Bilingual!


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