Science Sunday: shell sorting

Science Sunday

I was hoping to have some amazing pictures this week of the triops that had hatched…….  However, we’re into the start of the time when they MIGHT hatch, provided I never got the water too hot.  This might not have been the ideal experiment for us to try.


Instead, I’ll start telling you about the next lesson we’re learning: SHELLS!


After reading what animals live in shells and how there are many types, we first read about bivalves, so today’s lesson is on bivalves.




Setup: Each kid had a pile of shells and a few non-shell items and a piece of felt.


Goal: To separate out the bivalve shells from the non-bivalve shells and to remove the non-shell items from the grouping.


Pretty simple, but fun right?


Next we sorted through the bivalves and looked for ones that were broken or had small holes in them.


Question: How did this happen?  What is the difference between a broken shell and a shell that has a hole in them?


Shell with small hole drilled in it- that was eaten by a sea snail that drilled the hole and sucked out the mussel in the shell.


Broken shell- it was broken by a land animal most likely.  Sea otters will lay on their backs and crush clams with rocks.  Sea gulls will drop clams onto rocky shores to shatter the shell to eat the clam inside.


Afterwards I gave them some time to freely explore the shells and look at them some more.


They were given some ocean life flashcards, a book about sea shells with pictures of them to identify them, and a magnifying glass (sadly the store I got mine from seems to of discontinued it).


Oh, and just so I have a chance of knowing who is who later on, Superman is wearing the Batman lego shirt and has the blue felt.  I’m basing this mainly on the blue felt because blue is his favorite color.

Snacks and Stories had a fun idea of comparing blowing different substances with and without straws and what the results are.

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational made a fun yarn bird’s nest.


Child’s Play Music has an interesting idea for making music with water and common household items and explains some of the science behind it.

Creekside Learning linked up a fun series of ideas from their astronomy unit (aside from my favorite oreo phases of the moon idea) she also used them with the calendar to mark when it happened.


Learning Hypothesis had a fun experiment involving forces, pushing/pulling with balls.


Anyone have any other fun ideas about shells?  I have a few more things we’re going to be doing and I’m looking forward to more explorations.

16 thoughts on “Science Sunday: shell sorting

  1. We have a HUGE amount of shells that were given to us. Sometime I need to get more serious about having the girls try to categorize and identify them. I think they'd like that.
    Looks like your kids had fun!

  2. I really like this activity! Montessori Print Shop has a great picture sorting activity that would go well as a follow up to this activity, also it comes with the names of the shell. Sometimes I don't use the work as it is described. If your kids are into cutting and gluing they would love to make a picture book using this sorting activity. Thank you for you sharing.

  3. My kids love to look for shells, examine shells, and play with shells. This is a great science activity. It makes me think about how much I miss the beach – is it July yet?

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