Shark Unit Study

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Shark Week on the Discovery Channel is an annual homeschooling event in our home. My kids know that all of their normally scheduled studies are put on hold for the entire week. Needless to say, it is something that they look forward to every single year. You can get your kids amped for Shark Week too, using this Shark Unit Study.

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Did you know that the odds of being killed by fireworks, hit by lighting, or death by drowning are higher than that of being attacked by a shark?

Sharks are amazing, fascinating creatures and are generally misunderstood by humans. It is important to teach your children about sharks to help them understand and appreciate the wonderful creatures that they are.

Shark Unit Study

  • Basic Shark Information

Sharks are cartilaginous, carnivorous fish ranging from 20cm ( 7.9 in) to 18m (60 ft). Although most sharks live in saltwater, there are a few, select species that live in freshwater rivers. 

Sharks, of course, belong to the scientific kingdom, Animalia; further classification is as follows: 

Phylum: Chordata 

Class: Chondrichthyes 

Subclass: Elasmorbranchii

Infraclass: Euselachii

Superorder: Selachimorpha 

There are over 500 different kinds of sharks (including those that are extinct) and each kind of shark differs in size, habit, and diet. Although generally, sharks look similar across the board, there are differences in their anatomy, too. 

  • Shark Anatomy

Bones

A shark’s skeleton is not made of bones like most fish we think of; it is made of cartilage which is lighter and more flexible than bone.

Skin

Their skin is made up of what is called dermal denticles which look like grooved teeth all along the shark’s body. They form a very hard armor for the shark and make his skin feel like sandpaper. 

Eyes

The eye of a shark is basically the same as most vertebrates. The most important difference is that they can see in the murky waters of the deep. This special feature to their site is called “tapetum lucidum”.

Gills

Sharks breathe like all fish do, by filtering the oxygen from water through their gills. They have 5- 7 gill slits on each side of their head. However, unlike boney fish, they do not have gill covers because they need to have water constantly running over their gills in order to breathe.

Teeth

Sharks have rows upon rows of very sharp teeth. What is interesting about their teeth is that they are not embedded in their jaw like most animals. Their teeth are attached to a membrane located on top of the jaw. When they break, loose or just wear out a tooth, the one from the row behind moves up and takes its place. In fact, sharks have been known to grow between 30 and 50 thousand teeth in a lifetime!

Interesting Fact!

Just Keep Swimming. Unlike most fish, sharks cannot stop suddenly, nor can they swim backward. Some sharks move through the water by moving their tail back and forth, others by moving their whole body back and forth thus propelling themselves through the water. They don’t move their fins either as most fish do. Their fins are there to help them keep their balance in the water.

  • Fact Vs. Fiction

1. Fiction: Sharks are scary man-eating animals

Whereas there are instances where humans are attacked and eaten by sharks, most marine biologists do not believe that preying on humans is the reason for the humans being attacked. In fact, humans do not contain the level of fat necessary to sustain a shark.

Many researchers believe that the flash of white from the sole of our feet becomes mistaken for prey that a shark has been chasing, or that the movement of our legs or arms in the water can attract it while it’s already in a predatory mode. 

2. Fiction: All sharks are huge

The smallest shark, the Dwarf Lantern is 20cm long (7.9in) at its largest. That is as small as a little stuffed animal! 

3.Fiction: All sharks look the same

Did you know that a manta ray belongs to the shark family? That means they are technically a shark, but they look nothing like a shark!

4.Fiction: All sharks have teeth

Manta rays don’t have teeth, either. Some sharks are what we call filter feeders. They feed on plankton which filters through their gills. Those sharks do have a few teeth, but they don’t use them to eat, and scientists still haven’t figured out what they use those teeth for. 

  • Types of Sharks

Dwarf Lantern Shark (Etmopterus perryi)

The dwarf lantern shark is (as mentioned previously) the smallest of all sharks. At his largest, he is 7.9 inches long and weighs half of an ounce. Imagine a shark weighing as much as half slice of bread!

They are brown with black markings and photophores (light-emitting organs) along its belly and fins. It has a long flat head that takes up about one-third of its body and two sets of dorsal fins that are covered with grooved spines. Its eyes are quite large for such a small shark because it needs to be able to see in dark waters.

They are exclusively found in the Caribbean and live in the ocean’s twilight zone (which is the middle zone of the ocean waters).

Dwarf sharks eat krill (which are small crustaceans) and give birth to 2-3 live babies (called pups) per litter.  

Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Bull sharks are mostly well-known for their ability to live in both fresh and saltwater. They have a special gland near their kidneys that stores salt in their bodies while they are living in freshwaters.  They prefer the warm, shallow waters of rivers or coastal lines and can swim as fast as 11.8 mph.

Bull sharks are grey with a white stomach and are quite large, ranging from 7 to 11.5 feet- long and weigh between 200- 500 lbs.  They are basically the size of a grown man and will eat almost anything- even birds and other smaller bull sharks. Although humans are not generally apart of their diet, they have been known to attack and eat humans either out of curiosity or by mistaking them for prey.

They are are not very social amongst themselves except for mating. They often mate in freshwater during the summer and give birth to live pups 12 months later. They are viviparous which means that the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta. 

The bull shark got its name not just because of its large, stocky looks, but also because it is well known for being aggressive and unpredictable. They are, along with the Great White and Tiger Sharks, considered one of the three sharks most likely to attack humans.

Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Lemon sharks like to live in the shallow waters of the subtropical coastline. They prefer to live in mangroves, coral reefs or mouths of rivers. They have been known to swim up freshwater rivers, however, they cannot live in them, so they eventually return to the sea.

They are fish eaters and have very poor eyesight, so they use electroreceptors to catch their prey and do not swim faster than 2 mph.

Named for their yellowish color created to blend in well with the sand of the sea floors, lemon sharks can grow up to 11 ft. and have been known to weigh up to 400 lbs.  

They are very sociable sharks. They live and hunt in groups usually based on similar size and tend to go back to regular nursery or feeding grounds to mate and give birth to their pups. They are also viviparous which means that the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta. Females carry their young for two years before giving birth and have been known to have up to 18 pups at once!

Lemon sharks are very tolerant of humans and will not usually attack. Of all the recorded attacks of sharks on humans only 10 of them have been by lemon sharks, and each one was provoked.

Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrnidae)

Hammerhead sharks are unusual looking, greyish- green sharks with a white underbelly. Their wide-set eyes and special sensory organs in their heads give them that interesting “hammerhead” look which is called a cephalofoil.

They are between 13 to 20 feet long and can weigh up to 1000 lbs. However, the most common species of the hammerheads are smaller weighing about 500 lbs. They are for the most part very agile and fast for sharks. They can swim at a speed of up to 25 mph!

They prefer living in warmer waters and are found in higher concentrations in the tropical and subtropical seas. 

Among fish, squid, and other crustacean their favorite food is stingrays. A special sensory organ in their head called the ampullae of Lorenzini helps them to detect electricity given off by other animals and helps them find where the stingrays have burrowed down in the sand of the seafloor.

Their wide-set eyes give them the ability to see 360°, so they can see both above and below their head, thus detect and capture prey much more effectively.

Hammerhead sharks give birth to anywhere between 6 and 42 live pups once every 2 years. Like bull and lemon sharks, they are viviparous which means that the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta.

They are relatively social as far as sharks go and can be seen swimming together in schools of 10 to 20 sharks during the day. However, they hunt solitarily at night. They are considered basically harmless to humans.

Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus)

The thresher shark is also known as the fox shark because the Latin part of its name “vlipinus” means fox. Its English name, thresher, comes from the unusual length of its caudal fin which looks rather like a threshing flail and has been known to grow as long as the shark’s entire body.

They are also known as one of the few species of sharks that leap from the water like a dolphin or whale. Marine biologists think this may be in order to stun or kill its prey while hunting.

Thresher sharks prefer the epipelagic (sunlight) zone of the open Pacific and Indian Oceans, but they are migratory sharks and can be spotted in many places throughout the world, especially as they hunt for food.

They eat schooling fish like herring, mackerel or sometimes squid. They use their tail to slap the surface of the water, causing the fish to swim closer together; then they slap their prey with their tail to stun or kill them.

Thresher sharks are gray with a white underbelly. They can grow as long as 6 ft and weigh as heavy as 500 lbs. They are one of the few sharks with endothermic abilities (meaning they are warm-blooded), which is one of the reasons they are one of the fastest sharks in the ocean, swimming as fast as 30 mph and whipping their tail as fast as 80 mph.

Thresher sharks are not social animals. Certain types of Thresher sharks can be seen hunting together, but they usually socialize only when mating. Fertilization takes place ovoviviparously, which means that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and when hatched, the mother gives birth to between 2 to 4 live pups.  

Thresher sharks are afraid of humans. They usually swim away when they spot a diver.

Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

Tiger sharks are well known for their ability to eat anything. They even eat inedible man-made things, like license plates which remain in their stomachs. 

They got their name from the tiger-like stripes stretching down their blue-ish sometimes green-ish backs and have a white or yellow underbelly. The stripes, however, fade with maturity. They can grow as large as 18 ft. and have been known to weigh up to 2,000 lbs.! They are not very fast sharks. They swim at about 19 mph, but they can swim faster for short periods of time.

Tiger sharks prefer the tropical, subtropical waters of the epipelagic (sunlight) zone of the ocean and are solitary animals. Socializing with other sharks usually only happens while mating. They belong to the ovoviviparous species meaning that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and when hatched, the mother gives birth to between 10- 30 live pups. Fertilization takes 16 months, so the female Tiger shark mates only once in 3 years.

Tiger sharks are number two on the list of the top three most dangerous sharks to humans. Although humans are not its prey, they have been known to bite humans, most likely mistaking them for prey.  

Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Nurse sharks are what some call the “couch potato” of the shark species. They move at less than 2 mph and sometimes don’t even swim but use their pectoral fins to walk along the ocean floor. Because they are so slow and most days spend sleeping on the ocean floors, they breathe by what is called buccal pumping. They suck in water thus supplying oxygen to their gills. 

Nurse sharks are usually brown and sometimes gray or yellowish in color. They can grow up to 10 ft long and weigh up to 250 lbs. They have two knobs on their head called barbels. These knobs are a sensory organ that contains taste buds. They drag them along the ocean floor in search of food.

Nurse sharks prefer the shallow waters of the coral reefs and coastal shelves and tend to do most of their hunting and feeding along the ocean floors. They eat a variety of sea animals because they suck their food into their mouth through a cavity in their throat. Whatever animals seem to be swimming by get sucked in and become the nurse shark’s dinner. 

Although they usually hunt for food alone, nurse sharks do like to snuggle up together during the day. Sometimes you can find up to 40 nurse sharks pilled one on top of the other, laying around on ocean floors, crevices and ledges.

They mate during the summer and fertilization happens ovoviviparously meaning that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and within five to six month when hatched, the mother gives birth to 20 to 40 live pups. However, once the female gives birth, she does not mate for the next 18 months.

Although Nurse sharks are extremely docile, they have been known to attack humans and not because they are vicious, but because they are so sluggish and docile that humans tend to take advantage of their easy-going nature. When the nurse shark feels threatened, it will attack. 

Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus)

The Greenland shark is well known for being the vertebrate animal with the longest life span, living anywhere from 300 to 500 years.

They live in the North Atlantic and Artic Oceans and because of the depts that it lives in its skin has a high concentration of trimethylamine N-oxide which makes the shark poisonous.  However, its meat can be treated to make it edible and is a delicacy in Iceland.

Greenland sharks are one of the largest shark species and can grow up to 21 ft long and weigh up to 2,200 lbs. It can be a creamy gray color or black/brown color and is one of the thickest sharks with a rounded stubby snout.

They eat mostly fish however they have also been known to eat larger animals such as seals, polar bears and once an entire reindeer was found in the stomach of a Greenland shark!

The Greenland shark is also known as the sleeper shark. It usually moves at less than 1 mph. Little is known of the social life of the Greenland shark; however, they believe that the female needs 150 years of maturity to become fertile. They are of the ovoviviparous species meaning that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and when hatched, the mother gives birth to 10 live pups.

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

The blacktip reef shark gets its name from the black tips on its fins. It is truly a beautiful looking shark. They are not excessively large; they generally grow to be about 5 ft long and weigh up to 288 lbs. 

The blacktip reef shark enjoys the shallower waters of the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific coral reefs and eats mainly smaller bony fish. 

Although they can swim relatively fast (at 15 mph), it has been discovered that some blacktip reef sharks prefer to stay close to home and have a home range of about .20 square miles. They have also been discovered hunting together for schools of fish.

Blacktips usually mate between November and March and gestation takes 300 days (almost a year). They belong to the viviparous species of sharks, which means that after fertilization, the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta and the mother gives birth to usually 4 live pups.

Blacktip reef sharks are shy, usually swim away from divers and don’t pose a big threat to humans.

Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)

The oceanic whitetip shark is well known for its long, rounded pectoral and dorsal fins that are tipped with white. They can be found worldwide because they migrate to warmer areas of the world as seasons become cooler. They live in the pelagic ocean zone and stay out in the open ocean avoiding shallower coastal waters. 

Oceanic whitetips can grow up to 4 or 5 ft in length and weigh up to 200 lbs.; and, depending on the region it lives in, it can be bronze, brown, bluish or gray in color. They are not a very fast shark, but they can swim quickly in short bursts of energy.

They are solitary sharks, hunt alone; and although they will eat many types of sea animals, their preferred menu is cephalopods and bony fish. They can become very aggressive if feeding around others and historically have been a great threat to shipwrecked humans.

They are “social” only when mating, which takes place in early summer once every other year (because the female carries her young for one year).  They belong to the viviparous species of sharks, which means that after fertilization, the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta, and the mother gives birth to anywhere from 1 to 15 live pups.

Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)

The shortfin mako shark is the fastest of all sharks and can swim up to 42 mph! It has also been known to jump as high as 30 ft. In fact, sometimes they even jump right into the boat of fishermen trying to reel them in!

Shortfin makos have been known to attack humans, however, they don’t treat them as prey. Most attacks have happened due to harassment by fishermen fishing for shark.

They can be seen worldwide in tropical and temperate waters and live in the pelagic ocean zone preferring the open waters far from the shallows of the coast. Their preferred food is cephalopods and bony fish, but they also eat sea turtles, sea birds and other sharks.

Shortfin mako sharks grow to an average of 10 ft long and weigh up to 298 lbs. They are a beautiful metallic blue color with a white belly; and as their name hints, they have shorter fins than the average shark.

They have a special heat exchange circulatory system which helps them maintain a body temperature of 7 to 10 degrees warmer than their surrounding waters. It is this circulatory system that enables them to maintain such high energy activity.

Shortfin makos are solitary sharks, which means that socialization mostly happens during mating. Fertilization takes place ovoviviparously, which means that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop for 15- 18 months and when hatched, the mother gives birth to between 4 to 18 live pups.  

Ghost Shark (Callorhinchus milii)

The Australian ghost shark is a relative of sharks and manta rays that is found in the oceans off the coasts of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.

They are also known as elephant sharks or elephant fish because of the hoe like snout that is sensitive to electric current and movement. They use their special snout to probe the ocean bottom for invertebrates and small fish. They live on the continental shelves and in cooler to temperate waters in depths of 200 meters.

They are not big sharks, in fact, the largest ghost shark recorded grew to be 125 cm long. They are an iridescent silver in color and have dark markings on their sides. 

Ghost sharks are oviparous which means that they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. They lay two egg cases during the spring months and after 8 months the eggs hatch. The baby ghost sharks live in a nursery area and gradually make their way to deeper waters as they mature. 

They are not a danger to humans in the way that most sharks are, but they do have a long spine just in front of their dorsal fin that can be extremely sharp. Some researchers have considered the spine to be poisonous, so humans should be careful when handling a ghost shark so as not to cut themselves.

Ghost shark is commonly used in Australia and New Zealand as meat in fish and chips.

Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)

Goblin sharks are deep-sea sharks that some call a living fossil. It is well known for its long flat snout and protrusive jaw.

They are slow-moving sharks and look for food along the bottom of the ocean as far down as 330 ft, however, they also eat midwater fish. Their jaw is usually in the retracted position, but when they are hunting, tendons release and their jaw jumps out to snatch up their prey.

Goblin sharks can grow to be as large as 10- 13 ft long and weigh 460 lbs. The only known extant species is pink. It gets its color from blood vessels that are close to the surface of its skin.

Its snout is long and flat and contains several ampullae of Lorenzini which detects electric fields produced by sea animals. Its jaws can protrude out almost as long as its snout.  

Little is known about how goblin sharks reproduce because humans have yet to find a pregnant female. Scientists assume that it reproduces like the viviparous mackerel shark, which means that after fertilization, the yolk from the egg becomes a placenta and the mother gives birth to live pups.

Because of the depth at which the goblin shark lives, they pose no threat to humans, and there is little interaction. Specimens that have been captured and taken to aquariums have lived for only a few days.

Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata)

The beautiful leopard shark gets its name for the black leopard looking marks on its slivery bronze back and sides.

They can grow up to 5 ft long and weigh up to 40 lbs. They have a very flat head, rounded snout, and unusual looking tail; the top part is longer than the bottom. They are striking creatures to watch.

Leopard sharks live in the intertidal zone of the Pacific Ocean from Washington State to Mexico They prefer to live in shallow waters of about 13 ft in the sand or mudflats, kelp beds, and rocky bottoms. They like to eat clams, crabs, shrimp, and bony fish.

Because of their small size, they tend to live in schools so as not to become lunch for larger sharks. They are viviparous and can give birth to litters of 7 to 37 pups each year. 

Leopard sharks pose no danger to humans. There has only been one recorded incident with humans since 1955 when a leopard shark was harassing a diver with a nose-bleed. Generally, leopard sharks are wary and afraid of humans. They are often captured off the coast of California for food or trade and exchange with aquariums.

Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)

The basking shark is most well-known for being a filter feeder. It does still have teeth, but it doesn’t use them to eat its food. It gathers plankton (its preferred food) by opening its large mouth and forcing in tons of water.

It can be dark brown, black or blue with a dull white underbelly and grows up to 26 ft in length and can weigh up to 4.5 t! It is the second-largest shark in size, next to the whale shark!

The basking shark can be seen all over the world because it migrates with the changing of seasons. It lives on the continental shelf and prefers warm-temperate waters.

Although they are slow swimmers, they have been known to jump clear out of the water, more than likely in an attempt to dislodge parasites.

Basking sharks are usually solitary animals except for during the summer months when they aggregate in areas of dense zooplankton. Researchers have studied their social behaviors during these months, and it is thought to be a form of courtship. They are ovoviviparous, which means that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac and when developed the mother gives birth to live pups.  

Basking sharks are not a threat to humans; however, humans have been a threat to basking sharks. They have been widely hunted in the past for their meat, skin, and liver. Today they are mainly caught for their fins for the delicacy, shark fin soup.

Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios)

Not very much is known about the megamouth shark because it lives in deep waters and is rarely seen by humans.

They are a brown/black color with a white underbelly and have an exceptionally large head and stout body. They are most well-known for their large rubbery lips and wide mouth that can open, up to 4 ft, 3 in wide – hence the name megamouth!

They often swim with their mouth open hunting for plankton and jellyfish which it filters from the water it takes in. Their lips are thought to be either a feeding mechanism or a way for megamouths to recognize each other. They are ovoviviparous, which means that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac and when developed the mother gives birth to live pups.  

Megamouths are also mega big! They can grow as long as 18 ft and weigh as heavy as 2,679 lbs.! During the day they swim at a depth of 300-500 ft and may even go much deeper, but they ascend to about 90 ft during the night. They are slow swimmers but their oily livers, and flabby muscles and skeletons keep the megamouth shark from sinking.

No one even knew that megamouths existed until 1976 when one became entangled in the anchor of a fishing boat. It was one of the most sensational discoveries of the 20th century!

Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Zebra sharks are oftentimes mistaken for leopard sharks because they have spots rather than stripes! 

Why are they called a zebra shark, you ask? Young zebra sharks actually do have stripes. They have a dark brown body and yellowy-white stripes, like a zebra; however, as they mature the zebra shark loses its stripes and gains spots. In fact, you can even find zebra sharks that are at an in-between stage of maturity with both stripes and spots. They can grow from 5-6 ft long and weigh about 44- 60 lbs., are very agile and swim moving almost like an eel through the water.

Living at depths of up to 203 ft., they prefer the coral reefs and sandy flats of the Indo-Pacific tropics.  They like to eat mollusks, and sometimes crustaceans and small bony fish. 

For the most part, they are solitary animals but they do aggregate once a year toward the end of summer and beginning of fall, possibly for mating reasons. Zebra sharks are oviparous which means that they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. They have been known to lay up to 46 egg capsules over a 112 day period and after 4- 6 months the pups hatch.

Zebra sharks are very docile. They are quite the attraction for human divers and although they have bitten humans, it is usually because they have gotten their tail pulled or humans have attempted to ride them.

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

The great white shark is probably the scariest and most vicious of all sharks. Although it is slate grey in color, it gets its name for its white underbelly and huge size. It can grow up to 20 ft in length and weigh up to 5,000 lbs.!

 The great white is at the very top of the food chain and has no known predators other than on very rare occasions, the killer whale. Although responsible for the greatest amount of attacks on humans, man is not the great white sharks’ preferred prey. Some researchers think that unprovoked attacks are a result of test biting in the same way that they test bite buoys, flotsams and other unfamiliar objects in the water to figure out what they are.

They are found in coastal temperate waters all over the world. They also tend to migrate far distances, even into tropical waters sometimes, however, they tend to return to their temperate feeding areas. 

Great white sharks are the primary predator of marine mammals as large as the baleen whale, however, they are not picky eaters; they will eat other marine animals too, such as seabirds and fish. They are fast swimmers, going as fast as 35 mph.

They also have been known to lift their head above the surface of the water to get a look at their prey; something known as spy-hopping, and use breaching (jumping into the air like a dolphin) as a part of their technique to hunt seals. It has been recorded that they can jump as high as 10 ft. in the air. 

Great whites are intelligent, social animals. In fact they have been known to swim in clans that researchers consider to function summarily to a wolf pack. Little is known about their mating habits, but we do know that they are ovoviviparous  meaning that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and within 11 months when hatched, and the mother gives birth to up to 14 live pups.

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

The whale shark is the largest existing shark in the world growing to be as large as 32 ft. long and weighing as heavy as 20.6 tons; that is as large as a school bus!

Since they are filter feeders (like the basking and megamouth sharks) they also have a very large mouth that they open while swimming in order to catch plankton and small fish (their preferred form of food). 

They get their name, whale shark, because its size is as large as some whales and because it is a filter feeder like the baleen whale. They are dark gray with a white underbelly and light gray or white spots along their back and sides.

Whale sharks can be found in the warmer tropical to temperate waters all over the world. But 75% of all whale sharks are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are pelagic (living primarily in the open waters), and although they may dive to great depths, they do not live in the great depths of the ocean.

While whale sharks are solitary creatures, they don’t shy away from others and don’t object to feeding with other sharks. The Red Sea is a favorite feeding ground for juvenile whale sharks.

Whale sharks are ovoviviparous meaning that the eggs inside the mother absorb the yolk sac, develop and when hatched, the mother gives birth little by little over an extended period of time to up to 300 live young, many of which do not live to maturity.

Whale sharks are docile creatures and pose no threat to humans. In fact, sometimes they will even give a diver a short ride on their back. 

Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon)

Magalodon means “big tooth” is an extinct species of shark that is well known for being the largest species of shark in history. Although it is considered to be one of the greatest predators to have ever lived, the information we have has been done from fragmentary study, so its definite size remains unknown.

It is thought to have lived in warmer tropical waters and like the great white shark, its preferred food was marine mammals such as seals, turtles and whales. It is interesting to note that with the extinction of the megalodon, creatures such as baleen whales grew gradually larger in size.

Please note, that some of the resources below may include evolutionary information. I encourage you to have a conversation with your children or preview these resources prior to assigning them as part of your homeschool studies. 

Articles

Surprising Shark Facts

Shark Facts vs. Shark Myths

Shark Facts for Kids

10 Myths About Sharks

Don’t Be Afraid of Sharks

Sharks FAQ

5 Shark Myths Debunked

The Epic History of Sharks

Real Reasons Sharks Attack Humans

9 Ways to Help Sharks

Literature

 

Videos




 

Art

How to Draw a Shark

Shark Chalk Pastels

Fingerprint Shark Art

How to Draw a Chalk Pastel Shark

Swimming Shark Art Tutorial

Shark Fin Drawing

Chalk Pastel Great White Shark Tutorial (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Crafts

Newspaper Shark Craft

Shark Paper Plate Craft

Footprint Sharks

Foam Shark Puppet

Popsicle Stick Shark

Cup Shark Craft

Shark Suncatcher

Paper Plate Shark Sewing Craft

DIY Shark Soap

Games and Activities

Shark Tooth Digging Kit

Feed the Shark Sight Word Ball Toss

Shark Bean Bag Toss

DIY Shark Slime

Shark Sensory Bin

Printables

Shark Lapbook

Preschool-Kindergarten Shark Learning Collection

1st-2nd Grade Shark Learning Collection

3rd-5th Grade Shark Learning Collection

Middle School Shark Learning Collection

High School Shark Learning Collection

Shark Notebooking Pages

Paper Shark Mouth

Shark Jokes

Feed the Shark

Shark I Spy

Anatomy of a Shark Worksheet

Shark Games

Food Web for Sharks 

Shark Word Scramble

Food

Shark Attack Cup Snack 

Seafoam & Shark Jello Cups

Shark Mallow Pops

DIY Shark Straws

Shark Cake Batter

Fishing Pole Treats

Shark Party Punch

Gummy Shark Rice Krispie Treats

Shark Snack Mix

DIY Shark Oreo Pops

Shark Tank Jello

For Further Study

Ocean Life: Sharks

All About Sharks

Introduction to Sharks

Sharks and Rays

Marine Life: Sharks and Rays

Can you now see how vastly different each species of shark is? Just as humans are different with various personalities, likes, and needs; so are sharks.

The next time you take a trip to the aquarium and look at all of those fish of various sizes, shapes and colors, take special note of the sharks. They are amazing, magnificent creatures!

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