Literacy Thursdays: Commotion in the Ocean

Earth Day 2020 was yesterday, but we’re celebrating all week! Enjoy this special Storytime with Bria and learn about some amazing ocean animals. They might look like they’re from outer space, but they’re all found right here on planet Earth.

Vocab Words

Commotion: A sudden period of busyness, noise, and excitement. 
Hatch: To come out of an egg. The turtles in our story hatched out of their eggs. What other animals hatch out of eggs?
Scamper: To run with quick, light steps. Can you scamper?
Skewer: To stab. Swordfish use their sharp bills (or swords) to skewer their food.
Bulbous: Round, bulging, and bulb-shaped. 
Blubber: Fat layers that keep sea mammals (like walruses, whales, and seals) warm in the cold ocean water.
Mammals: Mammals are warm-blooded animals that have hair or fur, typically give birth to live young instead of laying eggs, and feed their young with milk. Walruses are mammals. 

At-Home Activity

We read about walruses’ blubber in our storytime today. Let’s try a simple activity to learn about how blubber keeps some sea animals warm!

Materials & Instructions

Bowl of ice water
Plastic bags
Vegetable shortening, like Crisco
A spatula

STEP 1: Place your hand inside the plastic bag like it’s a glove, then dunk your hand into the bowl of ice water. How does it feel? 
STEP 2: Turn the plastic bag inside out and use your spatula to cover both sides with vegetable shortening. Flip it right side out again.
STEP 3: Place your hand inside a clean plastic bag, then put that hand inside the bag filled with vegetable shortening. Now dunk your blubber-covered hand into the ice water again. How does it feel? Is your hand warmer with the layer of blubber protecting it from the ice water?

Some sea mammals live in very cold places, and they need a special layer of fat to keep them warm – especially when they swim in ice-cold water! Blubber can also be used to store nutrients for the animal when there isn’t a lot of food around.


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