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This unit study includes lessons and activities based on the book The Sea Chest by Tony Buzzeo.

As they wait for the arrival of a new baby, Maita tells her great-grandniece the story of her remarkable childhood. Living sheltered on a lighthouse island with only her parents for company, Maita always longed for a sibling-longed not to be the only child the ragged island knew. And then one icy night, howling winds blew wave after wave against the shore, and from that fearsome storm came a sea chest-a gift that would change Maita’s life forever.

from The Sea Chest summary at

This legend-based story provides the foundation for learning more about lighthouses, eggs, Maine, adjectives, calendars, and more! Grab your free The Sea Chest unit study to get started.

Thanks to Debbie Palmer for preparing this The Sea Chest unit study.

The Sea Chest Unit Study Lessons

Here is a sample of the lessons found in this The Sea Chest unit study:

Geography: Maine
The story takes place in Maine. Can your student find it on a map?

Using an atlas, your child can label it according to the directions. Its capital city is Augusta and the most eastern capital in the country. It is our 23rd state and was adopted into the Union in 1820. There are numerous lighthouses along its coast including Portland Head Light, which is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. Some fun facts on Maine:
Maine produces 99% of the blueberries in our country!

  • Maine’s nickname is the Pine Tree State since 90% of its land is covered in forests.
  • Maine is the only state that shares its border with only one other state. Which one?
  • Maine used to be a part of the Massachusetts Colony.
  • Maine is the most northeasterly state in the Union.

Language Arts: Personification
There is a lot of personification in The Sea Chest. Personification is when an author gives human characteristics to inanimate objects. Can your student spot the personification in the book?

Here are some examples:

  • “City lights flicker in the dusk like winking fireflies.”
  • “Wind shrieked”
  • “Our breath painting clouds”
  • “The frozen hinges squeaked their resistance”
  • “My dancing heart”

Language Arts: A Story Within a Story
There are actually two story lines in the book. Have your student identify both. There is the little girl’s story of her waiting with her Aunt Maita for her parents to bring back her newly adopted sister from across the Atlantic. And then there is Maita’s story of living on an island, finding Seaborne, and their life together.

To access all of the lessons in this The Sea Chest unit study, grab an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

How to Get Started with The Sea Chest Unit Study

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the The Sea Chest unit study.

  1. Buy a copy of the book, The Sea Chest, or grab one from your local library.
  2. Print the The Sea Chest unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Enjoy a week of book-based learning with your student.

Download Your The Sea Chest Unit Study

Simply click on the image below to grab the free The Sea Chest unit study.

The Sea Chest Unit Study

Other Resources with an Ocean Setting

Learn more about the sea! Check out these ocean themed resources:

Time of Wonder Unit Study and Lapbook
The Little Island Unit Study & Lapbook
Atlantic Unit Study & Lapbook