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Cut off the top portion of the cleaned-out milk carton. Pour water to desired level and place manipulatives inside. You may also stir in a drop or two of food coloring.
Place milk carton upright into the freezer and allow the water to freeze solid.
Pour another layer of water into the milk carton, placing more items inside. Continue this process until the carton is filled to the top.
Once all of the water is frozen, peel off the milk carton and place the ice block into a sensory / water table.
Provide the children with additional warm water and pipettes or scoops to pour onto the ice block. Describe how the ocean also has layers or “zones” with different sea creatures inhabiting different layers.