Jeremy enters the bowels of Lighthouse Cave, San Salvador, Bahamas.
Welcome to the Ocean
1. Introduce the oceans, provide background information:
The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean covering about one-third of the planet. It is also the deepest ocean.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean. About 90% of all fish caught for food comes from the Atlantic.
The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean. It contains the saltiest sea (the Red Sea) and the warmest gulf (the Persian Gulf).
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and the most shallow of the oceans. Most of the water in the Arctic Ocean is covered by sheets of ice, and it is the only ocean almost completely surrounded by land.
2. Find the oceans on the large map, and then have the students find the oceans on their map and label them.
3. To show students approximately how much of the earth is covered with water, we will take a paper plate and fold it into fourths. Then students will color one fourth of the plate green representing the land and the rest of the plate blue representing the water.
4. Salt Water Activities
a. How do we know that the ocean contains salt. Before the experiment prepare some ocean water by adding 2 tsp of salt to 2 c of water. Pour the ocean water into a pie pan. Put the pan in a warm, dry place. Allow the water to evaporate. Have students draw observations in their journals each day. Discuss what is left in the pie pan, and have students write about their final observations.
b. Students will compare salt water to fresh water. We will fill two cups with water. Add salt to one of the cups. Allow students to taste each cup of water. Then ask students what they think will happen if we add an egg to each cup. Write down predictions in their journals. Add the egg to each cup. Ask students why they think the egg floats in the salt water but not the fresh water. Have students draw a picture of the results in their science journal, and record why the egg floats in the salt water.
c. With students, create a large VENN diagram comparing salt water to fresh water. Allow students to brainstorm ideas and discuss where each idea would fit.
Beaches and Coastlines
1. Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt: Students explore beach debris and sand. To get ready, prepare a beach bucket for each group of four students. The bucket should contain sand and pieces of drift and marine debris. Include evidence of plants (twigs, leaves, seaweed), animals (shells, feathers, tracks in the sand), humans (garbage, toys), and non-living material (rocks, beach glass, plastic). Have each group of students observe the items in their bucket, and have the students classify the items into categories of their choice. Have each group share their items and the categories. Then have students resort the items according to plant, animal, human, and non-living. Create a large chart divided into the four categories. Discuss where each item should go. Discuss how some items can be placed in both the human and non-living categories. Decide where each item best fits. Write or draw pictures of the items in the appropriate categories and display the chart in the room.
2. Drawing Organisms and Habitats: Students will draw animals found on the beach or near the coast and draw the habitat you would find them in. Begin by dividing the class into three groups: above the sand, below the sand, and beach wrack. Give each group drawings of the appropriate group. (The Ocean Book pg. 165-202) Have each student pick an organism and color it according to the description. Then students will cut out the organism and glue it to a piece of white construction paper. Students will then create a habitat for their organism. They may want to include what the organism eats and/or the organism that eats theirs. Have students present their organism and the habitat to the class. Then display for all to see.
3. Coral Reef Background Information: Read the article in Time For Kids: Can we rescue the reefs? Discuss the coral reefs.
a. Discuss the animals and plants found on the coral reef coloring page. (The Ocean Book pg. 77) Have the students color the page for display.
b. Have students create a pop-up coral reef. Glue the coral reef page (Ranger Rick) to a piece of construction paper. Cut off the animals by cutting along the wavy lines. Then fold the paper in half with the printed side out and cut along the wavy lines. Open the page and pull the cut-out parts forward and the fold the paper with the printed side in to create the display. Color the reef animals and cut them out. Add the reef animals by gluing them to the reef. Have students present and discuss similarities and differences in the reefs created by the students.
Animals in the Ocean
1. Alien Adventure: Students explore the variety of animals found in the ocean while listening to a story. Give students a copy of Pg. 33 (Ranger RickÕ Nature Scope). This page has 8 organisms that are found in the ocean: anemone, worm, sponge, shell, squid, zooplankton, ray and eel. Then read the story called ŌJourney to Another WorldĶ found on Pg. 20 (Ranger Rick). As you read the story you will read about certain organisms. From the description, the students will have to determine which organism you are describing and mark it on the page. When finished with the story, go back and check studentsÕ answers and discuss why they picked the organism that they did.
2. Students will create a pull through window showing the different layers in the ocean and the animals that reside there.
Begin by discussing the layers of the ocean. Ask students what they might find at three different layers: the sunlight, the twilight, and midnight zones. Make predictions and write them on a chart. Then make the pull through using pg. 31,32,35 (Ranger RickÕs Nature Scope.) Cut apart the two strips on pg. 35. Glue them together, and use the cover on pg. 31 to complete the pull through. After creating the final product, use page 32 to color and discuss the animals found in each zone. Compare these animals to the ones on the prediction chart, and then discuss why each of these animals is found where they are.
3. Students will compare the sizes of many sea creatures. Break students into groups of 3-4. Give each group some yarn and rulers/yard sticks. Put each of the following organisms along with their length on an index card. Give each group some of the index cards, and have them measure the size out on the playground and label each organism with the correct index card. When all of the organisms are measured and labeled, discuss the different sizes of the organisms with the students. Ask if they are surprised by the size of any of them.
Hermit Crab: ¸ inch, Harbor Seal: 6 feet, Sea Urchin: 4 inches, Leopard Shark: 6 feet, Ochre Sea Star: 12 inches,
Sea Lion: 10 ¸ feet, Giant Octopus: 27 feet, Sea Otter: 58 inches, Gray Whale: 39 feet, whale shark: 49 feet, Humpback Whale: 52 feet, Porpoise: 6 feet, Kelp Crab: 4 inches.
Be sure to have pictures of these animals available so that students know exactly what it is that they are measuring.
4. Students will label a fish. Just so that students have an idea of the different parts of the fish, help students label the parts of a fish using pg. 82 (Tails of the Sea). Discuss why fish have these parts and what they are used for.
5. Webs and Chains
A. Introduce sea food chain and pyramid and discuss using pg. 47, 50-51 (The Ocean Book).
B. Students will create a food web using index cards and yarn. Have students list a few organisms that are found in the ocean. Have them write those organisms each on an index card. Be sure to include the sun as well. Lay the index cards out on the carpet. Create a food web by connecting the appropriate organisms with yarn. The students should have to give some explanation as to why they think the organisms should be connected. Decide as a class if they should. If so then punch a hole in each of the index cards and tie them together with the yarn. Continue until the web is complete, and then display the web somewhere in the room.
A. Camouflage Game: Students will try to find fish throughout the room that may blend in to the surroundings. The teacher should create several organisms including fish that either blend in well with certain areas of the classroom or really stick out and are easy to find. Before students enter the room, place the organisms throughout the room. Then have students one at a time go find one. The students need to tell if it was easy or hard to see and why they think so. Continue until all organisms are found.
B. Discuss shape and coloration of fish. Show students pictures of fish found in the ocean. Talk about why they think the fish are a particular shape and color. Why arenÕt all fish the same? Discuss camouflage, warnings (spines, poisons, etc.), false eye spots, countershading (sharks), and advertising (wrasses). Talk about why certain shapes might be better in certain places than others. Then have students make and name their own fish. Students must then write underneath the fish about its coloration and shape. The students need to tell why the fish is that particular color and shape. Students should then share their fish with the class.
C. Complete the Undersea Hide and Seek worksheets (pg. 10-11 Mailbox Magazine). As a follow-up, students should be able to follow the directions on how to color each fish and then read the descriptions and place the appropriate fish in the book. Cut apart the pages of the book, staple, and read.
People and the Ocean
1. Discuss uses of the ocean to people. Make a chart of all of the ways that people use the ocean and its inhabitants. Let your students brainstorm for a bit, but donÕt forget to lead them to include all of the following: food, minerals, shipping, recreation, pollution, and medicines.
2. Ocean in a Bottle: Students will explore what items that may or may not mix with water and which would be considered pollution. For each pair of students you will need: 2-liter bottle, measuring cup, water, vegetable oil, shampoo, funnel, paper towels (just in case). Have students begin by pouring 3 cups of water into their bottle. Consider this their clean ocean. Then add 1 cup of vegetable oil. Shake the bottle. Do they mix? Discuss with students what happens when there is an oil spill in the ocean. Now pour 1 c of shampoo into the bottle. Shake it up and let it sit overnight. Discuss with students the next day, Can you still see the oil? It is important that students realize that pollution cannot always be seen.
3. As a final activity, have students write about the ocean. Allow them to choose to write about whatever aspect of the ocean they like, but they need to include at least one idea about how they could help preserve the ocean and its inhabitants.
Just wanted to add that the purpose of this unit was to put together an easy accessible list of activities that covered a broad range of ideas about the ocean. In no way do I claim all of these activities as my own, but I chose and made up activities that I thought would work well together in my classroom.
Braus, Judy (Editor). Ranger RickÕs Nature Scope: Diving into Oceans. Washington D.C.: National Wildlife Federation. 1992
Center for Marine Conservation. The Ocean Book. New York: Wiley. 1989
Education Center. Mailbox Primary. June-July, 1994:10-11
Fredericks, Anthony. Exploring the Oceans. Colorado: Fulcrum Resources. 1998
Ocean in a Bottle. http://www.eecs.umich.edu/mathscience/
Shackelford, Karen. Tails of the Sea. Texas: Lasting Lessons. 1995
Strang, Carl, Halversen, Catherine, and Hosoume, Kimi. On Sandy Shores. California: LHS Gems. 1996
Teacher Created Materials, Inc. Sea Animals. 1993
Upadhyay, Ritu. Time for Kids: Can We Rescue the Reefs? November 2000
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