Resources › For Educators Octopus Printables Share Flipboard Email Print Fleetham Dave / Perspectives / Getty Images For Educators Homeschooling Spelling Geography Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Teaching By Beverly Hernandez Homeschooling Expert Beverly Hernandez is a veteran homeschooler and the former administrator of a large independent study program. our editorial process Beverly Hernandez Updated January 18, 2019 The octopus is a fascinating sea animal easily recognizable by their eight legs. Octopuses are a family of cephalopods (a subgroup of marine invertebrates) known for their intelligence, ability to blend into their surroundings, unique style of locomotion (jet propulsion)—and, of course, their ability to squirt ink. Because they don't have a backbone, octopuses can squeeze into or out of extremely tight spaces. Octopuses typically live alone, eating shrimp, lobsters, and crabs which they find by skimming along the bottom of the ocean, feeling with their eight arms. Sometimes an octopus will consume larger prey like sharks! Two Groups The 300 or so species of octopus alive today are divided into two groups: the Cirrina and Incirrina. The Cirrina (also known as finned deep-sea octopuses) are characterized by the two fins on their head and their small internal shells. They also possess "cirri,"tiny cilia-like filaments on their arms, adjacent to their suction cups, that may have a role in feeding. The Incirrina group (benthic octopuses and Argonauts) includes many of the better-known octopus species, most of which are bottom-dwelling. Ink Defense When threatened by predators, most octopuses release a thick cloud of black ink, composed of melanin (the same pigment that gives humans their skin and hair color). This cloud doesn't serve merely as a visual "smoke screen" that allows the octopus to escape unnoticed; it also interferes with predators' sense of smell. This defense protects octopuses from dangers such as sharks, which can sniff small droplets of blood from hundreds of yards away. Help your students learn these and other exciting facts about octopuses with the following free printables, which include word puzzles, vocabulary worksheets, an alphabet activity, and even a coloring page. 01 of 09 Octopus Vocabulary Print the pdf: Octopus Vocabulary Sheet In this activity, students match each of the 10 words from the word bank with the appropriate definition. It’s a perfect way for elementary-age students to learn key terms associated with octopuses, whose plural form can also be spelled "octopi." 02 of 09 Octopus Wordsearch Print the pdf: Octopus Word Search In this activity, students will locate 10 words commonly associated with octopi and their environment. Use the activity to discover what students already know about this mollusk and spark a discussion about the terms with which they're unfamiliar. 03 of 09 Octopus Crossword Puzzle Print the pdf: Octopus Crossword Puzzle Invite your students to learn more about octopuses by matching the clue with the appropriate term in this fun crossword puzzle. Each of the key terms used has been provided in a word bank to make the activity accessible for younger students. 04 of 09 Octopus Challenge Print the pdf: Octopus Challenge Beef up your students' knowledge of the facts and terms related to octopi. Let them practice their research skills by investigating at your local library or on the internet to discover the answers to questions about which they're unsure. 05 of 09 Octopus Alphabetizing Activity Print the pdf: Octopus Alphabet Activity Elementary-age students can practice their alphabetizing skills with this activity. They'll place the words associated with octopuses in alphabetical order. Extra credit: Have older students write a sentence—or even a paragraph—about each term. 06 of 09 Octopus Reading Comprehension Print the pdf: Octopus Reading Comprehension Page Use this printable to teach students more octopus facts and test their comprehension. Students will answer questions related to octopi after they read this short passage. 07 of 09 Octopus Theme Paper Print the pdf: Octopus Theme Paper Have students write a brief essay about octopi with this theme paper printable. Give them some interesting octopi facts before they tackle the paper. 08 of 09 Octopus Doorknob Hangers Print the pdf: Octopus Door Hangers This activity provides an opportunity for early learners to hone their fine motor skills. Use age-appropriate scissors to cut out the doorknob hangers along the solid line. Cut the dotted line and cut out the circle to create octopus-themed doorknob hangers. For the best results, print these on card stock. 09 of 09 Octopus Coloring Page Print the pdf: Octopus Coloring Page Kids of all ages will enjoy completing this coloring page. Check out some books about octopi from your local library and read them aloud as your children color. Or do a little online research about octopuses ahead of time so you can better explain this interesting animal to your students.