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Ocean Life Projects for the Elementary Classroom.

Updated on July 27, 2011

The Ocean has always given the teacher endless possibilities for classroom projects. Many areas can be covered with these lessons, such as sea animals, its plant life, the beach, and the salt water itself. Needless to say, ideas are plentiful, and the grade level focus is wide. Whatever you decide to do, your students will have immense fun while learning about the sea.

Creating an aquarium in the classroom is a project that can span the grades, depending on how much material and detail is covered in the lessons. Students can use items of sea life either bought from a pet store, collected from a field trip to the beach, or both. Seashells, seaweed, pebbles, sand, and coral can be placed into an aquarium tank for an underwater setting. Salt water, and salt water animals are added. Students could decide what kinds of animals they would like in the tank, as well as which animals could co-habit without incident.

Creating a sea life mural is another project that can span the grades. Pre-K and Kindergarden students can color in and decorate cut-outs from templates of sea life, and place these onto a bulletin board covered with blue paper. Grades 1-3 can trace from the templates themselves, and make algae, coral, and other sea items from various materials like construction paper, ribbons, and patterned cloth, among other things. Labels with the names of each marine dweller can be made out of simple index cards. Grades 4-6 can add descriptions of what each sea life does alongside their names. These students could even place their mural onto a large piece of butcher paper, or even clear blue cellophane wrap.

Grades 4-6 could do research on different types of whales, and decide which three they would like to focus on. The students could split into three groups in order to build the whale of their choice. Each group would be supplied with a picture of a whale, two large sheets of butcher paper, markers, paint, scissors, glue, newspaper for stuffing, staples, and a stapler. Students would draw out their whale, paint it, and cut it out according to the whale's unique details. The two pieces are glued and stapled together when both side are done. A hole is left for stuffing the whale with newspaper, and then closed when finished. The whales can be displayed by hanging them up on the rafters of the classroom ceiling, using hole punchers and yarn that matches the color of the whale painted.

Creating a chart for endangered sea life is ideal for Grades 4-6. Students can do research on endangered sea life and then use the information obtained to make a classroom chart of animals and plants, their names, characteristics and functions. This could be a whole class project that could be displayed on the bulletin board, or a large piece of paper like butcher paper.

These are simply suggestions that are based on many years of experience as a school teacher. Please, feel free to alter them to according to the needs of your particular students, or to your creative inclinations. These projects should be fun for everyone involved, including the teacher!


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