52 Weeks of Literature Fun- Week 2: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Last week we looked at our first Oceans and Island themed books, Call It Courage. Week 2 of 52 Weeks of Literature Fun includes another classic and we included in our “oceans read aloud book group” many are familiar with, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In our reading literature schedule, the older children really appreciated this book. I have read this book aloud and also listened via audio. Here is a link if you prefer the audio. Both times however, we have just continued our reef studies, just various elements and creatures. Though our primary focus continue on ocean life studies and skilled craftsmen, you could choose what best suits your children. My older students primarily answered oral questions pertaining to the reading and filled out a reading summary worksheet I created once we were through. But we used this book primarily as enjoyment and leisure “breaks” with snacks at our reading stations (Inflatable inner tubes at the beach or in the yard) and focused on studying:

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Some activities throughout the book included:

Chapters 1-5

  1. “Sea Monsters” (Largest sea creatures and fish in the ocean.)
    • Blue, Sperm, Killer & Fin Whale
    • Whale, Basking & Great White Shark
    • Giant Manta Rays
    • Lion’s Mane Jelly Fish
    • Oar Fish
    • Japanese Spider Crab (Origami Spider crabs while watching documentary- my playlist here.)
    • Ocean Sunfish
    • Giant Pacific Octopus
    • Man-of-War
    • Giant Sea Star
  2. Famous Shipwrecks (We picked 2 and then did famous Great Lakes Shripwrecks to go along with my USA history)
    • Titanic
    • Mary Rose
    • The Vasa
    • Kublai Khan
    • Empress (Ireland)
    • Estonia
    • Andrea Doria
    • Republic
    • Lusitania
    • HMS Victory
    • Spanish Armada
  3. Harpoons & Whaling
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Chapters 6- 10

  1. “Electric Sea Creatures” (350+ fish)
  2. Whales (Study & Popsicle stick whales- here is a printable pattern)
  3. Narwhal
  4. Fastest ship on the seas today (Incat-Tasmanias)
  5. Submarines
  6. Study Aspiration (along with tools that help divers or submarines)
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Chapters 11- 14

  1. Tropical Fish
  2. Jellies
  3. Hygrometer Study
  4. Chronometer Study
  5. Diving Equipment
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Chapters 15- 19

  1. Sandwich Islands (Known today as- Hawaiian Islands)
  2. “Ocean Submarine Forest”
  3. Decompression
  4. Shipwrecks
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Chapters 20- 23

  1. Reef life (Made sequin fish art display)
  2. Phosphorescence (In sea life)
  3. Jelly Fish (Study & make “lantern jellyfish”)
  4. Cetaceans
  5. Native Islanders history & today’s traditions
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Other Activities throughtout the book included:

~Each student picked a poem for copywork (age appropriate), to memorize, and to recite after our book projects were completed. HERE is a great place to start.

~Each student would pick one whale, one jellyfish, one ocean monster (or whatever it was we were studying) and research it out. Then present their findings as a class individuals or with a partner.

~Write vocab words for each chapter.

~Watch 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

~Discussion: Was the book believable to you? What was your favorite scene? Do you think Captain Nemo is still alive? Why do you think we didn’t learn more about his identity? All of the prisoners (or guests) are rather different in personality, can you identify how it helped or hurt them in any ways? Can you relate to any or all of them? How was Aronnax’s adventure with the Natalis similar to your own adventures? Do you see unjust things in the world today? What do you think of them? Is there anything you can do about unjust things? Explain. At the time, the book refers to true oceanographers of their time and there was no proof giant squid existed, does it change your thoughts on the author, his character or his work? Etc.

~Identify and discuss the themes in the book.

  1. Freedom vs. Imprisonment
  2. Loyalty vs. Hate or Hipocracy
  3. Conservation
  4. Justice

~Tests and a full curriculum on the book if you desire, HERE

Jules Vernes will grab your children’s attention in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A great read anytime and an enhancement while diving deep into your ocean studies. Enjoy. Happy Teaching!!!

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