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Life in a rock pool

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: Science
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: World Museum


Rock pools are wonderful places to observe animals from a broad range of groups. This session recreates some of the wonder by using live animals from the World Museum's Aquarium.

This is a demonstrator-led session where our aquarists take the group on an exploration to meet some of the animals found in British rock pool habitats.

Further details

demonstrator showing a starfish to some children© Mark McNulty

Pupils are initially asked to consider the oceans, their importance and what they provide for us. They are then introduced to the rock pool as a habitat and are asked to consider that habitat and the challenges it may present to the animals which live there.

Using some of the latest technology, pupils have a close encounter with live sea creatures such as crabs, hermit crabs, anemones and starfish. They learn about the adaptations that help these animals to survive in rock pools.

During the session pupils learn about the animals including what their bodies are made of, what they would feel like and how they protect themselves. They look at how many arms, legs and feet they have and how they move around. They have a closer look to find out if the animals have eyes and how they know where they are going, where the animals’ mouths are, what they like to eat and how they catch and eat their food.

We finish the session with the opportunity to spilt the class into smaller groups and allow them to touch the animals they have been talking about in a safe and controlled way.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 – Science.

Pupils will be able to:

  • Describe the differences in life cycles of different animals
  • Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according top common observable characteristics based on similarities and differences.
  • Give reasons for classifying animals
  • Identify how living things are adapted to their environment

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Learn about the oceans and their importance to humans.
  • Learn that the oceans have different habitats.
  • Learn about the challenges that a rock pool habitat presents.
  • Learn about some of the animals that live in the rock pool habitat and the adaptations they have to help them survive.


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • Oceans and importance of oceans.
  • Marine Habitats
  • Rock Pool animals.
  • Adaptations.


Pupils will:

  • Develop observation skills by looking at the anatomy of rock pool animals.
  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.
  • Learn to handle animals with care and respect.


Pupils will

  • Enjoy a focused visit to the aquarium
  • Be inspired to take an interest in the natural world and our coastline.
  • Learn to understand that different animals live in different habitats and have key adaptations to help them survive..
  • Learn how to recognize some common animals in our local shores.