On Gull Beach

On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bob Marstall

On Gull Beach Book Cover

The On Gull Beach – Teacher’s Guide features a variety of 10 activities that target national science, English, mathematics, and art education standards for grades PreK-2. This website provides summary background information, along with digital content that complements the printable guide.

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Supplementary Materials for the Activities in the Guide:

Activity 1: Discover Gulls!

Check out the videos below from the Macaulay Library to look at the varying behaviors of these birds. Challenge students by asking things like: What are the birds doing? Why are they behaving this way?

Flying Herring Gull

Feeding Gull

Calling Gull

Foraging Gull

Gull Feeding Chicks

Activity 2: Star Toss

Take a look at this video to see the relationship between gulls and starfish. Please note that although this is not a Herring Gull, it is typical gull behavior.

Activity 4: Fluffed Up Feathers

BirdNote provides a kid-friendly podcast that discusses bird behaviors and functions, including insulation.

Activity 5: Stash the Trash

Pollution and littering have become a big problem for marine animals, including gulls. Everyday, animals can become sick or die because they mistake trash for food. Ask your students:

  • How does trash end up on beaches and in oceans? (Trash can be littered there, or can be blown by the wind to that area.)
  • How can we stop this from happening? (People can make a group effort to clean beaches, recycle materials, and not litter.)
  • Why do animals mistake trash for food? (Sometimes trash looks like food to them. For example, a metal tin can look like fish scales, or small wrappers can look like tiny fish or insects.)

A great way to start researching the threats that gulls and other marine life face can be done by starting here.

Activity 6: Can You Hear the Ocean?

Encourage kids to close their eyes and listen to any of the following soundscapes.

Winds, Waves and Birds

Beach Waves

Waves Crashing and Gulls

Activity 7: Bird Comparison

Use the links below to see the differences and similarities between each marine bird species. Look at details like body size and beak shape.

Herring Gull



Snowy Egret

Activity 8: Sea Star Perspective

If your students aren’t familiar with starfish, check out this link from National Geographic.

If students are interested, here is a cool video of a starfish “walking” on a beach.

Activity 10: Floating and Sinking

This website provides good background information and examples on density.