Resources needed:

Large wall or display area


Word cards

Non-fiction books/web access.


  1. Write down all the words the children know about the coast/seaside. What are the features of a coastline? What sort of creatures would you expect to find?
  2. Use an online map application to zoom in on some of the features of a real coastline. What sort of things can they see? If necessary, point out lighthouses, coves, beaches and spits or outcrops of land. What has caused this?
  3. Draw a giant coastal habitat on a wall or similar large space and give each child a secret word. Choose words which the children may not have heard of before, such as samphire, crevice, lichen, dune and so on.

Teaching point: Think about giving less able children words which may be easier to guess at, or giving two or three words to a small group of children rather than singling children out.

  1. Ask the children to place their word in the correct place on the habitat drawing. This should be where they would expect to find the thing on their card. Debate where necessary about which word should go where – but don’t give anything away to the children! There may be some suggestions about moving words to different parts of the wall.
  2. Now give the children a range of secondary sources and allow them to research their word. When everyone has had some time to do this, invite children who incorrectly placed their words to come out, explain the meaning of their word to the class and reposition it if necessary.


Further Activities:

Build a coastal habitat in a large tray – make the coast out of rocks and sand and label as much of it as possible, perhaps adding models of the birds and creatures found around the coast. Let children use sand, pebbles and rocks in the water tray to try to build a miniature ‘coastal defence’ which will not allow water to penetrate.

Visit the coast and take lots of photographs. Use them back in the classroom to compile a fact file about our coastal habitats.

Children could add photographs, sketches, printed pictures, captions and labels to the large coastal habitat sketch to build a large class display and reminder of the topic.

Curriculum Areas covered:

The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time

Human and physical geography – describe and understand key aspects of:

  • Physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle