Wednesday, May 22, 2024


by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by David Wiesner

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam-anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Make a glossary of sea-themed words, including vocabulary from the book’s title and blurb (e.g. flotsam, floating, ashore, barnacle).
  • Look at the items of flotsam shown on the inside cover. Could you choose one and write your own story about it?
  • Write an acrostic poem based on the word FLOTSAM.
  • Create some captions, speech and thought bubbles to accompany the beautiful illustrations in the book.
  • Write the story from the boy’s point of view.
  • Create a poster to persuade people to buy the ‘Melville Underwater Camera’.
  • Write a story about the previous owner of the underwater camera.
  • Who made this incredible camera? Where did it come from? Discuss your ideas with your class.
  • Write the story in the form of a playscript. Could you perform it to an audience?
  • Choose one of the photos that the boy discovers and write a description of what you can see.
  • Write a biography of one of the children that the boy sees in the photo.
  • What might happen to the camera next? Discuss your ideas with a friend.
  • Imagine that you discovered the camera. What would you do?
  • Write a newspaper report about the discovery of this amazing camera.
  • Make a list of arguments for and against keeping sea creatures in aquariums.
  • Make a poster to promote a beach clean.
  • Create a list of questions that you would like to ask the author / illustrator.


  • Look at the different items of scientific equipment that the family brought to the beach with them. What are they? How are they used?
  • The boy uses a magnifying glass to look at seaside creatures. Could you use one to look closely at different objects? Can you explain how a magnifying glass works?
  • How many different creatures and plants can you identify in the illustrations? Can you write a report about one (or more) of them?
  • Identify ways that people can help to look after the seas and oceans around the world.


  • Use publishing tools to create a poster that teaches people how to stay safe at the beach.
  • Create your own book trailer to promote Flotsam:

  • Record your own narrated video to retell this story:

  • Create a stop-motion animation to retell part of the story.

Design Technology

  • Create a labelled diagram that shows how the wind-up fish works.
  • The underwater camera has a film inside. Can you find out how these cameras work? How are they different from digital cameras?


  • Create your own incredible pictures that show images that might have been taken by the underwater camera.
  • Create a story of your own that is told without words.


  • Create a melody to accompany a movie version of this story.


  • Look at a map and find your closest beach. How far away is it? How could you travel there? How long might the journey take?
  • Identify the geographical features of beaches and coastlines. Can you create a report about some of them?


  • Look at the images of the children in the photograph and estimate when the pictures were taken. How has life changed since then?

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