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Sand Dollars by Lydia Colon (Grade 2)

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Sand Dollars by Lydia Colon

One hot summer day, a little girl stumbled upon a strange object when searching for seashells on the beach. It was much larger than a seashell, and shined bright white in the sun.

She grabbed the round disc from the sand and brought it to her mother who sat on a beach towel underneath an umbrella. She asked, “Mom, what is this thing? It is round, and white, and has a pretty flower design on it. Is it for mermaids?”

Her mother smiled and gently took the object from her hands. She said, “Sarah, you found something very special! This is something called a sand dollar. Humans can’t actually buy things with it, but some people believe that sand dollars are lost coins from mermaids living in Atlantis. When I was a kid, I used to try to find sand dollars each time my family made a trip to the beach.”

Sarah took back the sand dollar to study it. She was surprised to find that the strange five pointed design matched the five holes along the edges of the dollar.

“Mom, where do sand dollars come from? Do mermaids make them?” she asked.

Sarah’s mother stood up from her beach towel so she could help Sarah apply more sunscreen and replied, “Actually, sand dollars are the skeletons from a type of sea urchin. Their white color means they are dead. When they are alive, they are purple and covered in very small hairs that help them move across the sea floor. Sea urchins are related to starfish. That's why they share the same five-pointed pattern.”

After this explanation, Sarah looked at her sand dollar with a new appreciation. She couldn’t believe she had found something so special! Sarah went in search of more sand dollars, but was unable to find any that day. Instead of being disappointed, she decided that this made her sand dollar even more unique and rare.

When Sarah went to school the next day, her teacher announced that all of the students must bring something for show and tell that week. Sarah was so excited! She couldn’t wait to share the story of her sand dollar with her first grade class.

When school was over, Sarah’s mom took her to the library to get some books on sand dollars. After learning as much as she could, she went to her class the next day for show and tell to teach her friends about the sand dollar she found on the beach.

After listening to some of her classmates, she was finally called to stand in front of the class.

She said, “Hello everyone! When I was at the beach a couple days ago, I found this!”

Sarah showed everyone her sand dollar and explained where it came from.

“When the sea urchin reaches the end of its life, it can’t hold itself in place anymore. It washes onto the shore and is bleached white by the sun. Then, when kids like me take trips to the beach, we find their skeleton in the shape of a sand dollar!” she said.

Sarah passed around the sand dollar and each of her classmates were careful to handle it gently.

“Wow!” her friend Dawson said. “This is so cool! Maybe I’ll find one this weekend when I visit my family at the beach.”

“I hope you do Dawson,” Sarah responded. “I had no idea that a skeleton could be so beautiful!”
1. 
What is a sand dollar?
  1. a sea shell
  2. the skeleton of starfish
  3. a form of money used by humans
  4. the skeleton from a species of sea urchin
2. 
How many points does the design on a sand dollar have?
  1. 3
  2. 4
  3. 5
  4. 6
3. 
How does the color of a sand dollar change as it is washed onto shore?
  1. It predators remove the color by eating its outer layers.
  2. The color is bleached white by the sun.
  3. When it dies, the outer layer falls off and reveals the white color.
  4. The sand dollar does not change colors.
4. 
How do sand dollars move across the sea floor when they are alive?
  1. They do not move.
  2. They are pushed by the current.
  3. They have legs that allow them to walk.
  4. They have small hairs that push them across the sand.
5. 
What color is a sand dollar when it is alive?
  1. blue
  2. white
  3. purple
  4. yellow
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