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  • Module 1 Summary

    “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

    Jacques-Yves Cousteau

    Grade 3, a year of discovery and wonder, begins with a study of the ocean, a rich source of life, beauty, and inspiration. In this first module of the year, students encounter the sea through a careful analysis of literature, informational texts, and art. Students not only gain knowledge about the ocean, but also learn to value curiosity as a driving force in human endeavors.

    By learning about ocean life and the many ways humans choose to explore the sea, students gain concrete information about the world around them, as well as habits of mind that will enable them to continue their own journeys of exploration and discovery. Students learn that the sea is a complex ecosystem, full of beautiful, mysterious, and important life forms. Students learn how poets and writers explore the sea through words and images. They also learn how scientists use technology to explore the sea. Finally, they gain important information about sharks and squids.

    Students first encounter the ocean through poetry and art as they analyze Sara Teasdale’s “The Sea Wind,” along with Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic woodblock print, Under the Wave off Kanagawa, Mary Cassatt’s The Boating Party, and Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream. Finally, students experience the sea as the setting for William Steig’s charming tale of an unlikely friendship, Amos & Boris. These works of art present very different images of the ocean and prepare students to consider the ocean as complex and compelling.

    Next, students listen to a read-aloud of Molly Bang’s informational picture book, Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas. The book highlights the importance of the ocean and the relationship between the sun and the microscopic plants that form the basis of ocean food chains. Next, students read The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, by Dan Yaccarino. This lively and beautifully illustrated biography portrays the joy and wonder that compelled Jacques Cousteau to spend his life exploring the sea. Students examine two of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, sharks and the giant squid, in two more informational texts. Cathy East Dubowski’s Shark Attack! sheds light on one of the most feared animals in the sea. Students learn more about scientific exploration of the sea by reading Mary Cerullo’s Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster, which describes Dr. Roper’s scientific work to find the mysterious creature that has so long eluded detection.

    For their End-of-Module (EOM) Task, students write a multi-paragraph essay explaining why artists or scientists explore the sea. The task requires students to use information from one of the module texts (the poem, art work, short story, or informational text) to explain why people, including artists and scientists, explore the sea, and to demonstrate their mastery of creating clear, well-organized paragraphs. Some students may choose to use two texts to complete this task.