Bringing the Beach Indoors!

by Sienna Kuykendall

Even though we can’t go to the ocean, we can still have a beach day! KIDS for the BAY Program Manager/Instructor Sienna Kuykendall created an exciting virtual Field Trip to Muir Beach for her third through fifth grade special education students at Manzanita Community School in Oakland. The first step for Ms. Sienna was to become familiar with how to lead lessons using Zoom videos. She attended a webinar and practiced with the partner teacher and just a few students to prepare for teaching this lesson. 

Students trace the journey to Muir Beach form their classroom!

Many students had never been to Muir Beach before, so Ms. Sienna encouraged students to share any other beach visits they had experienced. Anderson shared, “I went to the beach with my mom and uncle and saw lots of animals!” Students excitedly remembered that they had learned about beach organisms in their KIDS for the BAY Classroom Lesson investigations with fish, crabs and seaweed.

Students reminisce on their map exploration and creating a bay model.

Students traced the route from Manzanita Community School to Muir Beach on a satellite map of the San Francisco Bay. They had used the map during a previous lesson and were excited to share their map knowledge from the scavenger hunt, where they identified bridges, islands, cities and more! We could take the Bay Bridge and then the Golden Gate Bridge to get to Muir Beach!” Chris discovered. 

The class listened to sounds of the ocean, watched videos of rocky shore investigations, and learned about animals at the beach, and how they are connected in food webs. Students also went “bird watching” by discussing tools that they would use including binoculars. Camilla shared her own pair of binoculars at home and her experiences using them. Ms. Sienna provided bird guides that also had information about adaptations of seabirds including herring gulls, brown pelicans, western sandpipers, and double crested cormorants. Students used this information to play a game to identify birds based on their bird calls. “That’s the cormorant because it sounds like a toad!” exclaimed Camilla.

Students look at past work and are excited to recommit to environmental stewardship!

Students then played beach-themed pictionary. They took turns sharing screens in Zoom and drawing beach scenes and activities, while others guessed what they were drawing. Angelo drew students doing a trash clean-up at the beach to protect marine life. Teacher Ms. Barnes drew seaweed, fish with seaweed inside it, and a shark with a fish inside it. Students guessed, “That’s an ocean food chain!” Ms. Sienna drew a bird diving under the waves. “That must be the cormorant! We learned that it dives to catch its food!” Camilla noticed.

Ms. Sienna also shared the KftB At Home Activities, which are posted on our website and are available for anyone to use. She sent relevant lessons including the nature art activity and other follow-up science and environmental resources to the class.

Slide showing students ocean organisms!

The class ended their virtual Ocean Field Trip by sharing gratitudes. “I’m grateful for all the crabs, big and small, all sizes, shapes and colors!” shared Angelo. “I’m grateful for the bay fish that we can eat!” added William. “I’m grateful for the sound of the waves and the water,” shared Ms. Barnes. We’re all so grateful the beach exists and cannot wait until we can go again in person!

Students investigate tide pools at Muir Beach in 2019. We are so excited to go back to the beach next school year!