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I See Sea Creatures Program

Posted on Mar 16, 2016 by in Education


Hermit crabs, sea anemones, and urchins, oh my!

During our I See Sea Creatures education program, we investigate all sorts of animals living at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Designed to complement science and early reading goals for preschool and kindergarten students, this class is a fun way for young learners to explore our exhibits and learn about aquatic life.

I See Sea Creatures
Students count the arms of a sea star as it is added to the story board.

Beginning with an interactive story session, students are introduced to Eric Carle’s story A House for Hermit Crab. As the story is read, students create a visual story board to keep track of each animal the hermit crab encounters through his year long journey. We practice story sequencing, counting, and imaginative play.

After the story, students tour through the aquarium to find the living inspirations behind Carle’s characters. With the addition of our invertebrate touch pool, we get to meet many of the animals up close! Feeling the texture of a sea star, the spines of a sea urchin, and the hard cover of a snail shell, is a great way to discover the biodiversity of ocean life.

Touch Pool with Students
Students compare the soft cover of a sea cucumber to the rough cover of a sea star at our invertebrate touch pool.

 To learn more about the I See Sea Creatures program, please visit our education page. We provide booking information, program descriptions, and even educational activities to do at home. Our teacher guides provide helpful resources for both parents and teachers; activities include math, science, music, sequencing, and make-your-own puppet printables. You can find the I See Sea Creatures guide here.

Wondering if hermit crabs really decorate their shells as Eric Carle describes in the story?

Hermit Crab Book   Hermit Crab

They do. Common Hermit Crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, host a variety of organisms on their shells including barnacles, protozoans, and polychaete worms. Hosting sea anemones, with stinging tentacles, adds the benefit of protection from predators. Most hermit crabs prefer shells with organisms over plain shells. Though these animals do not engage in polite conversation as they do in the book, check out the awesome video below and for more information on hermit crabs visit these resources: