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Eight Arms & Counting

What’s unique about an octopus? Dig out some facts, use a little imagination, and bring these surreal creatures up from the sea!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Octopuses are solitary creatures. They have lots of ways to protect themselves. They can make themselves flat. They can change colors to match the ocean floor. They can make themselves look big to scare away enemies. Octopuses can shoot out black liquid to temporarily blind their attackers. Some can even change color to sport bright spots and designs! Now that’s really protective coloration!
    2. Students create their very own colorful octopus. Shape a handful of white Crayola Model Magic into an octopus’s elongated head. To make a colorful octopus, knead color from a Crayola Washable Gel Marker into white Model Magic. To marble the color, mix it in just a little. For an even color, mix more.
    3. Roll eight tentacles (arms), each with one wide end and one tipped end. Make suckers if you want along the tentacles’ bottom. Attach the wide ends to the body by pressing the damp Model Magic to itself. Air-dry your octopus.
    4. Decorate each octopus arm with markers. Try fun shapes such as circles, squares, swirls, stars, and triangles. To create a plaid, draw lines one way and others crossing them. Display your colorful creatures along with a report about their lives.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of aspects of a topic.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource: Dark Day in the Deep Sea (Magic Tree House, No. 39) by Mary Pope Osbourne

    Students draw a map of the world, labeling all continents and bodies of water. Students identify water locations that inhabit octopi.

    Encourage students to research the different functions of the octopus's unique features such as its sharp beak and prickly tongue, changing head and funnel, and tentacles and suckers. Students summarize their findings in paragraph form, and accompany their writing with an original sketch of an octopus in its natural habitat.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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