Frana L. Allen

M. T. Elementary School

111 South Throop






This lesson is designed for third and fourth graders.  The students will: a) locate on their world map the oceans, seas and continents of the world, b) identify ocean related occupations (marine ichthyologists, oceanographers, underwater archaeologists, and marine ecologists), c) fill in paper models of an ocean floor using the following terms: continental shelf, continental slope, trench, floor and island, d) discuss the Titanic and how an iceberg could be destructive to a ship as well as the Exxon Valdez and the effects it had on the ocean inhabitants then and now, e) unscramble a preplanned food chain, and f) explain, and answer specific questions pertaining to experiments on pollution, salt water versus fresh water, icebergs, and digging underwater.




These materials are for groups of four.  They are broken down into six stations.

Station 1 -----enlarged map of the world that shows oceans, seas and continents; crayons

Station 2 -----worksheets with ocean related occupations and definitions and pencils

Station 3 -----enlarged paper model of an ocean floor and a list of words and terms that can be cut out and pasted to the ocean floor model; glue, scissors, and crayons.

Station 4------specific pictures of a food chain found in the ocean, crayons, scissors and green string (to represent plant life in the ocean)

Station 5------four different worksheets pertaining to four different experiments and the experiments themselves (see below), pencils

Station 6------research books, articles and/or video clips of the documentaries/movies of the Titanic and the Exxon Valdez disasters, paper, pencils




This activity will take four, forty minute periods.

Day 1

Station 1

Each group of four students will be given an enlarged map of the world in which they will have to label in the continents, oceans and seas.  Students will have to do this activity without any aid from the instructor.  After fifteen to twenty minutes the instructor will go over the maps using the overhead projector.

Station 2

Discussion of ocean related occupations and their definitions.  Instructor will then assign/or have students choose what occupation they would like to hold in their group.  The occupations are as follows: marine, oceanographers, ichthyologists, underwater archaeologists, and marine ecologists.

Day 2

Station 3

Instructor will discuss with students about the geology of the oceans and will introduce the following terms: trench, continental shelf, continental slope, floor, and island.  The students then will be given an enlarged picture of an ocean floor and using the words and definitions students will fill in the words in the appropriate blanks and color the picture.

Station 4

Instructor and students will engage in a dialogue pertaining to the diets and habitats of fish of the deep. Students will then be given a picture of a food chain drawn out which contain sun, phytoplankton, zooplankton, herring, bluefish and decomposers. Pieces of green string will be attached to the ocean floor (for example, through holes punched into it) to represent the phytoplankton at the bottom of the food chain. Other food chain components will be cut out and also attached to the ocean floor.

If time permits: A sheet will be given to each student group containing various ocean plants and animals and those groups will make their own food chains.

Day 3

Station 5

The instructor will set up at least four experimental stations.  The stations should relate in some way to the ocean occupations that the students are exploring. (Suggestions: Surface Tension, Salt water vs. Fresh water and/or Water Pollution).  There are many water/ocean experiments available for instructor use on the WEB and in books (examples are listed below).

Station 6

Instructor will either take the students to the local or school library or have available in the classroom reference books for the students use about the Titanic and the Exxon Valdez disasters. Have the students write a short paper on the how these disasters came about and the long range implications each has on today’s environment.   Students will report their findings to class.


Performance Assessment:


Students groups will be assessed on how well they do the tasks in the lesson.




Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the oceans and ocean-related occupations.




The Ocean Book.  Center for Marine Conservation. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1992.


Ocean Life. Lisa Jo Rudy. School Stuff, Inc. New York, 1997.


The Ocean.  Judith Hechtman. Creative teaching Press, Inc. Cypress, CA. 1994.