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Dive into the Ocean: An Oceanography Lesson for Children

Updated on February 16, 2016
Examining a starfish on our field trip to the beach
Examining a starfish on our field trip to the beach

This is part 3 of a 3 part hands-on unit on Global Expeditions. This lesson is on Oceanography. Sculpt ocean floor pies, act out what creates tides, create ocean wave bottles, try on scuba gear, make ocean zone flip books, and more! My lessons are geared toward elementary level children. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 22 children between the ages of 2-9. Use this fun lesson with your class, family, camp, after school program, or homeschool co-op group!

Decorating the room to look like the ocean
Decorating the room to look like the ocean

Ocean Introduction

1. Before class/co-op begins, decorate the room with blue steamers. Place a blue sheet or blue plastic tablecloth over the chairs.
YOU WILL NEED: blue streamers & a blue sheet or blue plastic table cloth

2. Pray. Read & discuss Genesis 1:9-10, 20-22.

3. Tell the children that we’ve been learning about recent explorations of the world. Ask the children what areas we’ve learned about so far (poles & mountains). Ask if anyone can think of another place in the world that hasn’t been explored completely even today. (The ocean.)
-Ask if anyone has been to the ocean. (Have them raise their hands.)
-Ask everyone to say one thing about the ocean.
-Mention again that even today we have not completely explored the ocean. Ask them if they have ideas on what has limited our exploration of the oceans.

4. Before we explore the oceans, let’s create our own ocean. Have the children use scotch tape to tape their ocean animals to the blue sheet/table cloth.
YOU WILL NEED: ocean animals & scotch tape (both of which will be brought by the families)

5. Ask if everyone remembers the part of the continent song that mentions the names of the ocean. Sing through that part of the song twice while pointing to each of the oceans on the globe.
Continent Song
(Tune: Love & Marriage)
Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean,
Indian, Arctic, Southern Ocean
YOU WILL NEED: a globe

The Earth as viewed from outer space
The Earth as viewed from outer space

The Earth: Land vs. Water

6. Show a globe. Ask the children what color represents the land. Ask what color represents the water. Is there more green and brown or blue? A lot more or just a little more? Tell the children that when astronauts orbit the Earth in the space shuttle, they can look out the window and see the Earth. They say the Earth looks like a beautiful blue marble. Show a picture of the Earth from space.
YOU WILL NEED: a globe (same one used in activity 5) & a picture of the Earth from space (from a book or laptop/phone)

Filling a jar with sand and blue water to represent the Earth - Image credit: http://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/activity_for_kids_make_an_ocean_in_a_jar
Filling a jar with sand and blue water to represent the Earth - Image credit: http://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/activity_for_kids_make_an_ocean_in_a_jar

7. Select 2 children volunteers. Use a large clear bowl, pitcher, or bottle and tell the children that the container represents the earth. Have volunteer #1 fill the container 1/4 full with sand, which represents land. Have volunteer #2 fill the container 3/4 full with blue water to represent the ocean. Tell the children that 71% of the earth is covered in water.
YOU WILL NEED: a large clear container (bowl, pitcher, or bottle), enough sand to fill the container 1/4 full, a pitcher of water that has been dyed a light blue

Percentages of fresh water and salt water on our planet
Percentages of fresh water and salt water on our planet

Fresh Water vs. Salt Water

8. Ask if anyone has ever tasted the water in the ocean. What did it taste like. Yes, it was salty. Would you like to drink that water all the time? (No.) There are two types of water: salt water and fresh water. We can really only drink the fresh water.
-Pour 1/2 a cup of water out of a gallon of water. Tell the children that this represents all the fresh water on earth; the rest is salt water. Less than 3% of all the water on earth is fresh water. This 1/2 cup represents all the water found in lakes, rivers, underground, and frozen in ice.
-Ask if we can drink ice. Not really. We have to melt it first. Most of our fresh water is frozen. Use an eyedropper or baby spoon to get out what would be about 1 drop of water out of the 1/2 cup. Of all the water in the world, this is all the freshwater available for our use. The rest is frozen in ice or very, very deep under the ground.
-The amount of fresh water on the earth is a tiny amount compared to the amount of salt water in the oceans. All the plants, land animals, and people on earth must share this tiny amount of fresh water because it is the only drinking water God gave us. We should take good care of the water He gave us to drink.
YOU WILL NEED: a gallon of water, a 1/2 cup measuring cup, and an eyedropper or baby spoon

9. Sing 3x: The Ocean Song (to the tune of My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean)
The Earth is all covered with ocean.
So salty and cold is that sea.
The Earth is 71% ocean.
More water than land, don’t you see?
YOU WILL NEED: the words to the song printed out for the children to see
(The song is adapted from a song found at http://staffweb.srk12.org/bond_music/songlists/continents.htm.)

Ocean floor pie used to learn the ocean floor's features
Ocean floor pie used to learn the ocean floor's features

Ocean Floor Features

10. (While the children are looking at the globe, preheat your the oven to 425F.) Make a model of the ocean floor using a pie crust.
a. Ask: Has anyone ever visited the beach and jumped in the waves? What happens the further you go out into the ocean water? (It gets deeper.) Has anyone ever walked across the ocean over to Europe or Asia? Why not? The ocean gets deeper and deeper and deeper. We are going to take a make-pretend trip to the beach and we’re going to pretend to walk all the way across the Pacific Ocean over to Asia.
b. Have the children clean/sanitize their hands. Have them place the pie crust in the pie pan to create the ocean floor. Have them press on the sections of the pie crust as they name the parts with you.
c. At the very top of the edge is the Continental Shelf. [Have them say, “Continental shelf” and touch around the edges of the pie crust.] Say: Imagine you’re walking in the Pacific Ocean. You’ll go downhill for a while, going deeper and deeper into the ocean. Don’t get tangled in the seaweed! Here you’ll see schools of fish swimming by, a big sea turtle, an octopus, a lobster, jellyfish, and a whale as you walk along the continental shelf. Here the sunlight warms the water and there are many plants and animals. As you go deeper into the ocean, you will come to a cliff edge. It is where the continent of North America ends. Here it is. [Point to the inside edge of the pie crust at the top on the rim.] This is the edge of the continental shelf. Down below it is very dark and very cold because the sunlight cannot reach this far.
d.The slant inward is the Continental Slope. [Have them say, “Continental slope” as they touch the slant of the pie crust.]
e.The bottom outside edge is the Continental Rise and all the flat parts are the Abyssal Plain. [Have them say, “Continental Rise and Abyssal Plain” as they touch around the outside circle of the bottom of the pie crust.] Say: You’ll need lights and heaters built into your diving suits to be this far down. Now you are on a flat plain on the ocean floor. The animals that live down here are strange looking. Because it is so dark, many of the fish have glow-in-the-dark spots on them. You might see a school of lantern fish, a flashlight fish, or an angler fish. The angler fish has a small glow-in-the-dark tassel near its mouth. It shakes the tassel to make small fish curious about it. Then when the small fish swim over to see what it is, the angler fish gobbles them up. That way it doesn't have to go hunting for meals in the dark. In the deep ocean there are also swallower fish with big, big jaws and teeth that can swallow fish bigger than they are.
f. Looking out across the plain of the Continental Rise, it won’t be flat like this pie crust. You can see underwater mountains, volcanoes and huge canyons. Some of the mountains here in the ocean are taller than the tallest mountains up on land. What is the tallest mountain on land? (Mount Everest). The canyons are much bigger than the Grand Canyon.
g. We will get to a Mid-Ocean Ridge. [Have them say, “Mid-Ocean Ridge” as they touch the middle of the pie crust.] There is a separation here. Have the children use the plastic knife to cut a line across the middle of the pie crust from one side of the bottom of the circle to the other. Magma seeps up through this cut or ridge.
h. Moving toward Europe we’ll find a mountain called a Seamount. [Have them say, “Seamount.”] Have them pinch up some of the dough into a mountain shape.
i. We will also find a huge canyon called the Submarine Canyon. [Have them say, “Submarine Canyon.”] Have the children use the plastic knife to cut a line across the middle of the pie crust from one side of the bottom of the circle to the other. Have them make a second line across so that a narrow strip of dough can be lifted up.
j. Between the Seamount and the Submarine Canyon we will create a Volcanic Island. [Have them say, “Volcanic Island.”] Have them wad up the dough strip and place it between the Seamount and the Submarine Canyon. It actually starts on the bottom of the ocean and rises up out of the ocean water to create an island with a volcano!
k. Let’s walk through that trip one more time. Use your fingers to walk with me. We’ll start up on the lip of the pie plate where the beach sand meets the ocean. This is called the shoreline and then the Continental Shelf where most of the ocean animals you know about live. The part that goes down is the Continental Slope. At the bottom of the slide we find the Continental Rise and Abyssal Plain. Ask: “What do we see at the bottom of the ocean?” (tall mountains, volcanoes, deep canyons, a flat plain, glow-in-the-dark fish) Say: In the middle we find the Mid-Ocean Ridge. We see a Seamount and a Volcanic Island. Just before we get to Europe we have to cross the huge Submarine Canyon. Finally we get to Europe’s Abyssal Plain, Continental Rise, Continental Slope, Continental Shelf, and Shoreline.
l. Use a fork to prick each one a few times and then bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes. Pay attention to the time, and remove them from the oven when they are ready.
YOU WILL NEED: 1 pie plate, pie crust (not a graham cracker crust), & knife per child (all provided by the families) AND a couple forks
(Many of the explanations came from http://www.baltimorecp.org/lessons/1/1ASci.htm .)

11. Read “The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor.”

Book to read for activity 11

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor

This was definitely our favorite book on the ocean floor. It also includes additional information on the ocean as well. Even my 2 year old who hates sitting through books enjoyed listening to this one!

 

Ocean Movement: Tides

12. Ask if the ocean is still or if it moves. The ocean moves in three ways: currents, waves and tides. Show a picture of a shoreline, and say that the shoreline is the place where the ocean meets the land is the shore.
- Explain that every day, twice a day in a regular pattern, the level of the ocean rises and falls as it meets the shore. These changes are called the oceans tides. Ask if anyone has ever built a sandcastle on the beach and then had the ocean water eventually move up and wash away their sandcastle. This is because of high tide. If you were to spend the day at the beach they would see changes in the tides. At high tide, the edge of the ocean comes way up covering the beach so that you don’t have very much sand to play on. At low tide, the water level drops and the edge of the ocean moves farther away, leaving a broad sandy beach for you to play on and for you to find lots of neat shells. There are two high tides and two low tides each day.
- What causes the tides? We’ve talked a little bit about gravity before. Who can tell us what gravity is? Gravity is an invisible force that pulls everything on earth down. The earth isn’t the only body that has gravity. The sun and the moon also have a gravitational pull. Because the moon is closer to us than the sun, it pulls the water in the ocean just a little bit toward it. As the earth rotates, the water that is closest to the moon is pulled toward the moon causing it to become high tide. The moon and the Earth play tug-of-war with the ocean water. The moon’s gravity tries to pull all the ocean water toward it, but the Earth’s gravity keeps it from flying up and away to the moon.
-As you explain this, use a blue towel or sheet to demonstrate the movements of the ocean water.
YOU WILL NEED: a picture of a shoreline (such as a picture from a book) and a small blue towel, blanket, or pillow case

Book to use for activity 12

A Trip to the Ocean (DJ and Tracker John)
A Trip to the Ocean (DJ and Tracker John)

We used the illustrations and description from a section of this book to describe the tides and currents. This book is written from a Christian perspective and it has illustrations that appeal to younger children. If you have older children and would like to get into a bit more depth, you can look for "What Makes An Ocean Wave?" by Melvin Berger.

 
Taping a moon shape to a child's shirt to demonstrate the relationship between the moon and tides. Image credit: https://www.etsy.com/search/handmade/craft-supplies-and-tools?q=crescent+moon
Taping a moon shape to a child's shirt to demonstrate the relationship between the moon and tides. Image credit: https://www.etsy.com/search/handmade/craft-supplies-and-tools?q=crescent+moon

Moon & Tides Game

13. Moon & Tides Game: Have the children sit in a circle with their legs crossed. If the children are willing, have then put their arms around one another's shoulders. They will represent the ocean waters on the earth.
-Select one child to be the moon. Tape a construction paper white circle or white crescent to their short to remind the children that person is going to represent the moon. Have "the moon" walk around the outside of the circle. As the "moon
passes by the children, have him/her gently pull back on the shoulders of the children s/he is walking by. Remind the children that the moon's gravity pulls the water toward it. What happens to the other side of the circle? It should be leaning in toward the moon as well, leaning toward the center of the circle.
-Point out that the high tides will be wherever is closest to the "moon" and wherever is directly across the circle from the "moon." Low tides will be at the sides halfway between the high tide "bulges."
- Ask: What are tides? What causes them?
YOU WILL NEED: tape and a white construction paper circle or crescent shape
(This activity idea came from http://mjksciteachingideas.com/pdf/TidesActivity.pdf.)

Ocean Movement: Waves & Currents
Ocean Movement: Waves & Currents

Ocean Movement: Waves & Currents

14. (While children are doing the above activities, lay the bowls on the table and fill each one about halfway with water. Lay a straw next to each bowl. As the children are doing activity 13, sprinkle the dried parsley flakes on top of the water in each bowl.) Tell the children to fold their hands and not touch anything yet. The water in the ocean is not only pulled, it’s also pushed. Ask if anyone has ever played in the waves in the ocean. Allow a few children to share stories. Why are there waves in the ocean?
- Tell the children to hold their straws near the surface of the water and blow first gently and then hard. Ask: What happens to the surface of the water? (It ripples. The water is pushed to the other side of the bowl.) Ask: What do you think pushes the water? (The air from the straw.) Tell the children when they blow on the water, it is like the wind blowing on the ocean. The wind pushes the water and makes waves. When the wind blows harder, the waves are bigger. The parsley is helping them see how the water is moving. Ask: Which way is the water moving? (in circles)
-Tell the children that as wind blows across the top of the ocean, it moves the water in circular patterns called currents. Have them say, “currents.” Currents can carry warm water to colder parts of the ocean, which can affect the weather. Currents can carry seeds and plants to different countries. They can help ships travel faster.
-Tell the children that a current called the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean is a warm current that swirls up the coast of the United States. Have them say, “Gulf Stream.” Show them on the globe the general path of the Gulf Stream from the coast of Florida area to England. (It runs from the Gulf of Mexico, up the coast of Florida, and then north up to the coast of North Carolina, and then crosses the Atlantic Ocean to England.) Tell them the Gulf Stream is a current that carries warm water. The warm water from the Gulf Stream warms up our weather here in Florida.
YOU WILL NEED: a globe (the same one used in the earlier activity), a pitcher of water, dried parsley (or other dried spice), 1 straw per child, and a disposable bowl for each child

An ocean wave bottle
An ocean wave bottle

Ocean Waves Bottle

15. Make an ocean wave bottle. Allow children to drop a few drops of blue food dye into their bottles of water, close the caps, and then shake the water to make the water blue. Next, fill each child’s bottle the rest of the way with oil so that no space is left in the bottle. Close the lids securely. Allow children to gently shake the bottle back and forth to create ocean waves.
-As you are filling the bottles, tell the moms that they can add items such as shells or plastic ocean animals in the bottle at home and then secure the lids with glue and/or duck tape.
- As you are filling the bottles, tell the children that after their bottle is filled and closed, they will have just created a miniature ocean in a bottle. The oil in the bottle will begin to roll and move just like the waves in the ocean. Ocean waves are generated/caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the earth’s surface, the formation of the ocean floor, and the movement of wind across the surface of the water (just like when you blew across the water in your pie pans).
-Tell them to watch the waves. The highest point of a wave is called the crest. Have them say, “Crest.” The lowest point of a wave is called the trough. Have them say, “Trough” Have them point to the crest and trough of one of the waves in their bottle.
-Ask the children:
a. What causes waves?
b. Are the waves moving through the oil or through the water?
c. How can you change the movement of the waves: What can you do to make really big waves? What can you do to stop the waves?
d. If you move around the liquid in the bottle, will all the water move or just a little bit?
YOU WILL NEED: 2 full bottles of cooking oil (brought by you) and blue food dye & water bottles with caps (brought by families)

Wish for a Fish image credit: https://www.earlymoments.com/dr-seuss/List-of-Dr-Seuss-books1/Wish-for-Fish/
Wish for a Fish image credit: https://www.earlymoments.com/dr-seuss/List-of-Dr-Seuss-books1/Wish-for-Fish/

Ocean Zones Introduction

(*Before you read the book instruct the teachers/parents to place the baked pie crusts at the table and to get out their pudding and spoon.*)

16. Read Wish For a Fish: All About Sea Creatures by Bonnie Worth.

Book to read for activity 16

Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)

This is written in a Cat-in-the-Hat rhyming format and does a great job of describing each of the zones of the Ocean in a fun manner. It is great for preschooler through early elementary aged children.

 
Ocean pie uses pudding layers to learn the ocean zones
Ocean pie uses pudding layers to learn the ocean zones

Ocean Zones Pies

17. Have the children sit at the table in front of their baked Ocean Floor Pie Crusts. Open the book to the page that shows the Ocean Zones. Review the Ocean Zones with them. As you mention each zone, have the children scoop out some of their pudding and spread it out on their baked pie crust.
-The ocean is divided into zones according to how much sunlight can reach it.
-Have the children touch the big gap in the crust. We called this an Oceanic Ridge. The area in the ocean’s deepest trenches is called the Hadal Zone. Have everyone say, “Hadal Zone” as they scoop up a small amount of pudding and put it across the big gap in the pie crust.
-The bottom is the Midnight Zone (also called the Bathypelagic Zone or Dark Zone). Have everyone say, “Midnight Zone or Dark Zone” as they scoop up some pudding and put it in the pie plate. It’s dark down there, so add a few more drops of blue food dye to your pudding. The Midnight Zone, also called the Bathypelagic or Dark Zone, goes from the ocean floor up to the bottom of the Twilight Zone. Sometimes the deeper portion of this zone is further divided into a zone called the Abyss. Have everyone say, “Abyss.” Has anyone stayed up until midnight? How dark was it outside? It’s very dark. If you want some light outside you have to turn on a flashlight. The only light produced in the Midnight Zone in the ocean is bioluminescence. They glow in the dark, using special organs that give off light. God gave the animals their own flashlights as part of their bodies -- kind of like fireflies! The process by which living organisms produce light is called bioluminescence. Say, “bioluminescence.” Some of the animals that live in the Midnight/Dark Zone are the anglerfish, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, gulper eels, sea spiders, and sea lilies. Most of their food comes from the remains from marine life from the ocean’s upper zones. That means that they mainly eat the poop and dead bodies from animals that live higher up in the ocean. There are very few animals or plants in this area because of the darkness, high water pressure, low temperatures (it’s super cold), and limited food supplies. God specially designed the animals living here to grow very slowly and live for a long time to keep the speed of the body’s chemical and physical activities is slow so they won't require as many nutrients.
- The middle zone is the Twilight Zone (also called the Mesopelagic Zone). Have everyone say, “Twilight Zone” as they scoop some pudding into the pie crust. It’s between the Midnight Zone and the Sunlight Zone. It’s dark here but not as dark as the Midnight Zone, so add one more drops of food coloring but don't make it as dark as you did for the Midnight Zone. Octopi, some whales (sperm whales especially), sponges, and some coral live here. As the depth increases, the water gets darker, its temperature decreases (so it’s cold), and its pressure increase. There is very little light, so green plants can't grow here. There is not much food, so there are some animals, but not many. Just like in the lower Midnight/Dark Zone, most of the food here comes from the remains (poop and dead bodies from animals) from marine life from the Sunny Zone. Some of the animals do swim to the Sunny Zone at night to get food. Some animals in this zone glow in the dark, using special organs that give off light. Who remembers what that’s called? (bioluminescence)
-The top layer is called the Sunlight/Sunny Zone (also called the Epipelagic Zone). What do you think it gets a lot of? (sunshine). Have the children say “Sunlight Zone” as they spread the remaining pudding into their pie plate. The Sunlight Zone is the top layer of the ocean with the most light. It’s the smallest zone but it contains more than 90% of marine life. Since plants require sunlight to live, this is the area where plants are most
productive. Most of the ocean animals you're familiar with (sharks, whales, sea turtles, jellyfish, tuna) live here.
-Have children put the candy fish on the top of the Sunlight Zone to remind them that zone is where most of the animals are in the ocean.
-Put the pies in the refrigerator.
YOU WILL NEED: 1 candy fish/octopus (such as Swedish fish or sour gummy octopus candies) per child (brought by you), fish-shaped cupcake sprinkles (optional -- I found these with the blue colored Pillsbury frosting), and pudding & spoons (brought by families)

(Many of the explanations came from http://www.baltimorecp.org/lessons/1/1ASci.htm .)

Ocean Zone Flap Book
Ocean Zone Flap Book

Ocean Zone Flap Book

18. Make an Ocean Zone Flap Book. They will look similar to the one found at this link. Tell the children to fold the white construction paper in half (hot dog style). Glue black to the bottom. Cut the brown to look like the ocean floor. Glue it on the bottom (on top of the black). Glue the blue above the black. Trim the light blue to look like waves. Glue that above the blue. Glue the zone labels. Cut between the sections to make flaps. Open the flaps and paste the animals in the correct sections. (Go one section at a time so that children put the correct animals in the correct places.) For the animals in the Dark and Midnight Zones, have the children use a yellow highlighter or red marker to make bioluminescent dots on them.

YOU WILL NEED: 1 piece of white construction paper per child, one 4 1/2"x6" black construction paper strip per child, one 4 1/2"x4" blue construction paper per child, one 4 1/2"x2" light blue or gray construction paper strip per child, and one 4 1/2"x1 1/2" brown construction paper (all provided by you) and items provided by the families: scissors, glue, a highlighter and red marker, & the printed copies of marine zones & animals from (pp. 13-15) from http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_uploads/lesson_plans/764/Theres%20a%20Commotion%20in%20the%20Ocean.pdf (The descriptions of the zones from p. 13 will need to be shrunk a little bit to fit onto the page. I did this by copying the information, pasting it into a Word document, and then shrinking it.)

Showing scuba gear - Image credit: https://underwaterphantaseas.wordpress.com/tag/used-scuba-gear/
Showing scuba gear - Image credit: https://underwaterphantaseas.wordpress.com/tag/used-scuba-gear/

Jacques Cousteau & Review

19. One of the most famous explorers of the deep oceans was Jacque Cousteau. Show a picture of him from a book. He loved to explore the ocean and encouraged other people to do that as well because he wanted people to protect the oceans and the animals and plants that lived there. He helped to develop modern SCUBA equipment so that people could explore more of the world under the ocean. Show any SCUBA equipment if anyone brings any and mention what they are and how they are used.
YOU WILL NEED: a book on Jacque Cousteau and scuba equipment (optional)

20. Review what we learned today about the ocean.

Book to read for activity 19

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

This is the picture book we used to tell the story of Jacques Cousteau. We also enjoyed another picture book biography on him: "The fantastic undersea life of Jacques Cousteau" by Dan Yaccarino.

 

Marine Life & Food Webs

21. There are so many different ocean animals we could talk about and how they’re related to each other in the food web. Ask, “Who remembers what a food web is?” Have children share what item they brought. The children should have been assigned to bring an item that is from an animal in the ocean (a shell, shark’s tooth, piece of coral, starfish, etc. or a stuffed animal) and be prepared to show the object. Have them be prepared to tell the other children: a) from what animal that object came (i.e. “This is a shark tooth from a lemon shark.”), b) what that animal eats, c) what eats that animal, and d) something that is interesting about that animal

YOU WILL NEED: an item that is from an animal in the ocean (a shell, shark’s tooth, piece of coral, starfish, etc. or a stuffed animal) (brought by families)

Marine Snack

22. Allow children to eat the snack. Either offer the ocean pies or have families prepare ocean-related snacks ahead of time to share with the group. You can find some cute ocean recipes at http://www.pinterest.com/blessthishouse/konos-determination-expeditions/.

YOU WILL NEED: cups for water, plates, & napkins

More Great Books We Enjoyed

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Down, Down, Down, in the Ocean by Sandra Markle - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons - Image is from scholastic.comWay Down Deep: Strange Ocean Creatures (All Aboard Reading Step 2) by Patricia Demuth -Image is from http://cadetreadingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/way-down-dep-strange-ocean-creatures.htmlThe Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III
Down, Down, Down, in the Ocean by Sandra Markle - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.
Down, Down, Down, in the Ocean by Sandra Markle - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.
Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons - Image is from scholastic.com
Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons - Image is from scholastic.com
Way Down Deep: Strange Ocean Creatures (All Aboard Reading Step 2) by Patricia Demuth -Image is from http://cadetreadingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/way-down-dep-strange-ocean-creatures.html
Way Down Deep: Strange Ocean Creatures (All Aboard Reading Step 2) by Patricia Demuth -Image is from http://cadetreadingproject.blogspot.com/2011/05/way-down-dep-strange-ocean-creatures.html
The Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III
The Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III

More of Our Favorite Picture Books on the Ocean Zones

We also enjoyed reading Down, Down, Down, in the Ocean by Sandra Markle, Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons, Way Down Deep: Strange Ocean Creatures (All Aboard Reading Step 2) by Patricia Demuth (a book I used as a phonics reader for my emerging reader), and The Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III.

Our Favorite Chapter Book Option on the Ocean

The Oceanology Handbook: A Course For Underwater Explorers (Ologies)
The Oceanology Handbook: A Course For Underwater Explorers (Ologies)

My oldest son (age 11) also really enjoyed this book which is a fun-looking "handbook" on the ocean that is illustrated and written as if it was from one of the passengers on The Nautilus in "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea." It covers quite a bit about the ocean and it exploration.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang  - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola - Image is from Goodreads.comThe Seven Seas: Exploring the World Ocean by Linda VieiraHidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent - Image is from barnesandnoble.comCitizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life by Nancy KnowltonCoral Reefs by Gail GibbonsThe Magic School Bus Takes A Dive: A Book About Coral Reefs by Joanna Cole
Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang  - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.
Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang - Images are from amazon.com unless otherwise noted.
Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber
Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola - Image is from Goodreads.com
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola - Image is from Goodreads.com
The Seven Seas: Exploring the World Ocean by Linda Vieira
The Seven Seas: Exploring the World Ocean by Linda Vieira
Hidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent - Image is from barnesandnoble.com
Hidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent - Image is from barnesandnoble.com
Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life by Nancy Knowlton
Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life by Nancy Knowlton
Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons
Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons
The Magic School Bus Takes A Dive: A Book About Coral Reefs by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus Takes A Dive: A Book About Coral Reefs by Joanna Cole

More Great Picture Books We Enjoyed on Various Aspects of the Ocean

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang focuses on phytoplankton and how these tiny organisms form the basis for so many food webs and even produce half of the oxygen we breathe. Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber does a good job of describing marine food chains and webs in a nice picture book format. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola is a wonderful biography on a female oceanographer that covers her life from when she was a young child exploring the beaches of Florida to when she was an adult exploring the depths of the ocean in a submersible. Hidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent covers early exploration, whaling, early submarines, underwater labs, and more. The text and is accompanied by side bars with additional interesting tidbits. The Seven Seas: Exploring the World Ocean by Linda Vieira is a longer picture book that describes various ocean explorers, researchers, pirates, and more throughout the course of history. It was the book we used to cover the history of oceanography. Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life by Nancy Knowlton has amazing photographs of some of the incredible creatures that live under the sea, and it includes fascinating tidbits about them as well. Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons was our favorite picture book on the Coral Reef, though my younger children also especially enjoyed The Magic School Bus Takes A Dive: A Book About Coral Reefs by Joanna Cole. Hidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent covers early exploration, whaling, early submarines, under water labs, and more. The text and is accompanied by side bars with additional interesting tidbits.

Would You Like to Spend More Time Studying the Ocean?

Our Favorite Christian Textbook Options on the Ocean

The best option for elementary aged children

Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries))
Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries))

If you have elementary aged children, this is the best option as far as Christian textbooks on the ocean. It covers various aspects of oceanography, focusing mainly on the amazing creatures God created to live in the oceans! It includes a number of fun, hands-on activities.

 

The best option for middle and high school aged children

The Ocean Book (Wonders of Creation)
The Ocean Book (Wonders of Creation)

My oldest child (age 11) enjoyed this book, which is an Oceanography textbook written from a Christian perspective. It is ideal for middle school and high school aged children.

 

Joke: What did the Atlantic Ocean say to the Pacific Ocean?

Nothing. It just waved!

Material List for the Lesson

*Everyone needs to bring per child:
-a picture of an ocean animal (printed from the computer, cut out from a magazine, colored from a coloring book, etc.). We’ll be taping them on the wall to decorate the room.
-scotch tape (1 roll per family)
-any ocean-related items you’d like to bring to decorate the room (optional)
-a disposable water bottle (or Gatorade bottle, plastic mayo jar, or any other clear plastic bottle with a screw-on lid) filled 2/3 full of water AND with your child’s name written on it in permanent marker
-pie plate/tin (If you’d prefer, you can get a pie crust that is inside a disposable pie plate.)
-pie crust (unbaked – such as Pillsbury’s pie crust. If you’d prefer, you can get a pie crust that is inside a disposable pie plate. Don't get a graham cracker crust.) (1 per family if your children are willing to share. We’ll be making a model out of the ocean floor using the pie crust and then will bake it into a pie. If your children don’t want to share, you can have them each make their own pie.)
-1 plastic knife or kitchen table knife you’re comfortable with your child using
-1 prepared box of vanilla pudding mix that has been dyed with blue food dye. (1 per the number of pie crusts your child/children will be making. Prepare a box of instant vanilla pudding mix or buy a tub of it. Add a little less milk to it [1 3/4 c. rather than 2 c.]. Drop in a few drops of blue food dye. This will get used as the “ocean water” in our pie crust ocean floors.)
-1 spoon for your child to use to scoop out the pudding into the pie crust
-1 bottle of blue food dye (1 per family if your children are willing to share. It can simply be the blue food dye that comes in the package of 4 food dye colors.)
- A copy of the marine animals from each zone and the zone names and descriptions (pp.13-15) from http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_uploads/lesson_plans/764/Theres%20a%20Commotion%20in%20the%20Ocean.pdf . Please pre-cut these ahead of time, but keep them together in each zone. Place them in separate baggies or paper clip them together. Don’t forget to include the zone names and descriptions (which should be shrunk slightly)!
-scissors
-glue stick
-yellow highlighter or a yellow marker
-red marker
-scuba equipment (optional)
-an item that is from an animal in the ocean (a shell, shark’s tooth, piece of coral, starfish, etc. or a stuffed animal). Have your child be prepared to show the object. If your child is willing, have them also be prepared to tell the other children: a) from what animal that object came (i.e. “This is a shark tooth from a lemon shark.”), b) what that animal eats, c) what eats that animal, and d) something that is interesting about that animal (optional)
-an ocean-related snack. You can find some cute ocean recipes at http://www.pinterest.com/blessthishouse/konos-determination-expeditions/ . If you item will require a fork or spoon, please bring them. (optional)

*Items to be assigned to individuals to bring for the group:
-books: The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole, Wish For a Fish: All About Sea Creatures by Bonnie Worth, a picture of the Earth from space (if using one from a book), A Trip to the Ocean (DJ and Tracker John) by John D. Morris (optional), and a book on Jacque Cousteau such as Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
-blue streamers & a blue sheet or blue plastic table cloth
-a globe
-a large clear container (bowl, pitcher, or bottle), enough sand to fill the container 1/4 full, a pitcher of water that has been dyed a light blue
-a gallon of water (can be from the faucet), 1/2 cup measuring cup, eyedropper or baby spoon
-the words to the song printed out
-2 forks
-a pitcher of water (can be the same one used in the earlier activity) and dried parsley (or other dried spice)
-1 straw per child, 1 disposable bowl for each child
-1 full bottle of cooking oil for every 8 children
-candy fish (such as Swedish fish), candy octopi, and/or fish-shaped cupcake sprinkles (Pillsbury)
-1 piece of white construction paper per child
-one 4 1/2"x6" black construction paper strip per child (1 sheet folded into 4 squares)
-one 4 1/2"x4" blue construction paper per child (1 sheet folded into 6 rectangles)
-one 4 1/2"x2" light blue or gray construction paper strip per child
-one 4 1/2"x1 1/2" brown construction paper per child
-cups for water, plates, & napkins (1 set per child and mom/teacher)

Ready for the other lessons in this unit?

Rock climbing activity from Lesson 2: To Mount Everest and Beyond: A Lesson on Mountain Climbing for Children
Rock climbing activity from Lesson 2: To Mount Everest and Beyond: A Lesson on Mountain Climbing for Children

Make ocean floor pies, carry "eggs" like a penguin, sketch Mount Everest, compete in a "Base Camp" relay race, prepare and eat pemmican, and more in the exciting 3 week adventure as we explore the poles of the Earth, the heights of the mountains, and the depths of the oceans! This unit includes habitats, food chains, earth science, oceanography, and more!

  • Dive into the Ocean: An Oceanography Lesson for Children - This is part 3 of a 3 part hands-on unit on Global Expeditions. This lesson is on Oceanography. Sculpt ocean floor pies, act out what creates tides, create ocean wave bottles, try on scuba gear, make ocean zone flip books, and more!
  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.

Ready for More Oceanography Resources?

Our Favorite Family Read Aloud in Audiobook Format

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

In the past we have read the Great Illustrated Classics version of this book. This time we listened to the audio book. Jim Weiss (whose voice my children recognize from "Story of the World") presents a wonderful version.

 

Free Ocean Lapbooks

Click on the below links for find free lapbooks:

Free Ocean-Themed Lapbooks

Ocean Animal Lapbooks

Coral Reef Lapbook

Great YouTube Clips on the Ocean

Konos Volume III
Konos Volume III

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2014 iijuan12

What first comes to mind when you think of the ocean? - Or just leave a note to let me know you dropped by! I love getting feedback from you!

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