We read the book, The Big Wave, by Pearl S. Buck during our weather unit and I never thought it would lead us into a quick mini-unit on clams, but the kids were fascinated by the fact that during some tsunamis the ocean pulls back from the beach and exposes all this sea like, including clams.
We researched the clam using the Internet and wrote information about them to start. We have actually dissected quite a few different specimens this year, so the kids not only wanted to know about the external features of the clam, but also of the internal. We colored the diagrams of the internal anatomy and then the kids had to make a clay model of the internal anatomy and this was quite a challenge! They turned out great, though!
Once we learned all we could about the clam, we began our dissection of the clam. It was really amazing!
This dissection was pretty simple. I cut the abductor muscles (the muscles that make the shell stay closed) and the kids worked on finding all of the parts from the diagram. The kids generated tons of wonderful questions as we worked through the mini-unit!
Who knew an unexpected topic could be such a great way to spend a week? This is one reason why letting the kids' interests guide some of your plans is always a great idea! We read, researched, wrote, diagrammed, measured, observed, questioned and more!