Lessons from the Sand

Family-Friendly Science Activities You Can Do on a Carolina Beach

By Charles O. Pilkey, Orrin H. Pilkey

240 pp., 7 x 9, 212 color illustrations, 39 figs., 6 maps, 14 tables, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2737-3
    Published: April 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2738-0
    Published: March 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4542-9
    Published: March 2016

Southern Gateways Guides

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Ever wonder where sand comes from? Or why shells are colored differently? Or how to estimate the size of a wave? Featuring more than forty fun hands-on activities for families with children, Lessons from the Sand reveals the science behind the amazing natural wonders found on the beaches of North Carolina and South Carolina. Easy-to-do experiments will help parents and kids discover the ways water, wind, sand, plants, animals, and people interact to shape the constantly changing beaches we love to visit.

Featuring colorful illustrations and clear instructions, most activities require nothing more than an observant eye and simple tools found at local stores. You will learn about geology, weather, waves and currents, the critters that live on our beaches, and the environmental issues that threaten them. Chapters also include indoor activities for rainy days and activities for nighttime discovery. This book will become an indispensable companion for families, teachers, and students heading to the Carolina coast for years to come.

About the Authors

Charles O. Pilkey is an artist and writer living in Mint Hill, North Carolina.
For more information about Charles O. Pilkey, visit the Author Page.

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at Duke University and coauthor of How to Read a North Carolina Beach.
For more information about Orrin H. Pilkey, visit the Author Page.


“Will appeal not only to Carolinians and those who visit Carolina beaches, but to all people who have occasion to walk the world’s shorelines.” —Journal of Coastal Research

"A father-son team [on] how to turn children into scientists at sea." —News and Observer

"Fully illustrated with eye-catching graphics, photos, and drawings, Lessons from the Sand offers a family-friendly, science-based guide to exploring the Carolina coast. The many hands-on activities will also encourage explorers to consider and discuss some of the broader social issues important to our beaches."—Tonya Clayton, author of How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

"Charles and Orrin Pilkey’s book will inspire kids—and their parents—to explore sand dunes, shells, sea breezes, and more on Carolina beaches. The activities build on the natural curiosity of children but are informed by the authors’ deep knowledge of the coast. With its friendly writing style and fantastic illustrations, this book is a fun introduction to scientific thinking and to the natural world of Carolina beaches."—Mary-Russell Roberson, coauthor of Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas: A Field Guide to Favorite Places from Chimney Rock to Charleston