Sanibel Sea School Blog

Ask the Educators

January 4, 2021

This past fall, our educators have been busy with customized homeschool programming through our Homeschool at Sea program. With the large number of students homeschooling or attending classes virtually this year, we have been offering supplemental marine science education sessions that are hands-on and outdoors – our favorite!

We offer our Homeschool at Sea families the option to choose topics from our existing course catalogue or we offer the option to get creative with our educators to create a customized series of sessions that will compliment their current curriculum.

As a result, we’ve offered some really fun and interesting topics and asked each of our educators about some of their favorite, unique topics that they taught.

Here’s what they said:

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One of my favorite homeschool topics was Marine Animal Behavior and Intelligence. We tested our intelligence as a class with a variety of fun activities. We found creatures all over the beach, identified their specific adaptations and behavior, and discussed why they were behaving that way. Next, we discussed how these adaptations and behaviors could be an indicator of animal intelligence. We then put our intelligence to the test by seeing which team was able to open up a coconut first using tools. Students got creative with their coconut opening skills and in the end, had a coconut treat! Finally, we went to the bay and imitated bird and dolphin behaviors in order to catch some fish in nets. This program was unique, and I enjoyed observing the students’ problem solving skills. – Dana

During one of my homeschool programs the students got to become research biologists for a day! The group conducted a shorebird population survey on the beach, measured the water quality of both the gulf and bay waters, identified plankton under the microscope and ended the day assessing sand dollar population biology. The kids loved seeing the more scientific side of SX3 and definitely left that day with a better understanding of the importance of scientific research. – Kealy



One of my homeschool groups requested to learn about sand. So, we learned about different sources of sand all over the world, what Sanibel’s sand is composed of, and sand’s importance as a habitat for so many creatures. 

We used our senses to observe gravel vs. sand vs silt samples to learn the differences in sediment sizes. 

We did an experiment where we crushed up shells into tiny pieces and compared that to a sample of sand from the beach under the microscope. We were attempting to make our own sand! 

When we went out to the beach, we slowly moved from the swash zone to the dunes, making observations about how the sand changes as we moved up the beach. We laid on our belles and used hand lenses to look for teeny tiny whole shells. We searched for creatures in the sand at each section of the beach & dunes – mole crabs, coquinas, lightning whelk, parchment tube worms, plumed worms, ghost crabs, and more!

Then, we took a sample of sand in the swash zone, in the middle of the beach, and in the dunes. Back in the classroom we looked at each under the microscope and discussed similarities and differences between them. We hypothesized the reasoning behind it. 

At the end of class, we finished up with an art project where we made colorful sand using food coloring. We outlined a shell on a piece of driftwood and then used glue and the colorful sand to make the shell come to life! – Shannon

My favorite homeschool so far has been sea otters! They are such cute and playful creatures. The activities that we had for the class were loads of fun! – Brianna


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