OceanQuest 2004
Teaching Tips and Ideas

 

OceanQuest 2004 Essential Questions Stay on Task  |   Ocean Hotlist  
Great Ocean Books  |  Fun Ocean Activities  |  Teacher's Page  Monthly Newsletter  

Choose a Marine Animal to Explore  |  Where Does Your Animal Live?
Investigate
Your Animal!  | Tell the World About Your Animal!

 


Teaching Tips and Ideas

 

Table of Contents

Teacher Notes
Technology Connections
Hands-On Experiments
Teacher Resources
In Conclusion

 

 

Teacher Notes:

This is a long unit of study.  I usually take about 1 month to complete this unit. I know that for some of you that might be a bit much.  Although I suggest doing it in it's entirety, there is nothing wrong with taking on some of the missions while not attempting others or using them for enrichment.  Only you can decide what's best for your class!

To let others know about an animal that lives in the ocean or relies on the ocean and how it is being impacted by problems that humans are causing we need to create a web page to teach others about what we know. We will need to:

Task 1: Your students will need to choose an animal that lives in the ocean or relies on the ocean.  See Mission 1: Choose a Marine Animal to Explore to explore further.

Task 2: Your students will need to create a the background (habitat) for the life-size mural of their Animal. See Mission 2: Where Does Your Animal Live? to explore further.

Task 3: Your students will need to create the animal for the life-size mural of your Animal.  Make sure that they include your

  • Animal in action,

  • And some of the other plants and animals that live there.

See Mission 3: Investigate Your Animal! to explore further.

Task 4: Your students will need to will need to write a report describing our animal, the impact of humans on this animal, and some possible solutions to the problems humans have caused.  Use images of our life-size animal and our report to develop a web page that will teach others about what they know. See Mission 4: Tell the World About Your Animal! to explore further.

 

Technology Connections- Choosing Your Internet Sites Wisely

Consider the huge amount of information that is available online. Now, consider that many of these sites have been posted to the Internet with very little editing.  This means that Internet sites can contain information that contains mistakes or is misleading.  For this reason, it is critical that you learn how to evaluate a web page for usability, authenticity, applicability, authorship, and then be able to use it effectively.  Use the following criteria as a starting point for evaluating web sites.  Go to Choosing Great Web Sites to learn more about how to teach your students to evaluate and choose the best web sites.

 

 

Hands-On Experiments

While studying the ocean there are many hands-on experiments that can bring the ocean alive in your classroom.  I would suggest beginning with water quality experiments.  You or some of your students will need to collect samples of salt water to use during many of the following experiments.

 

What is the Ocean?

Start with the basics.  What do your students already know about oceans?  What do they want to learn? Earth is the only planet in our system that has large bodies of liquid water.  As a matter of fact, the Earth's surface is more than 70% covered with ocean water.  The oceans are so large that we need to break them into smaller pieces or biomes  to effectively study it. Follow some of the links below to learn more about the oceans.

Water on the Web
What is Ocean Color?
Waters of the Earth
Sea Connections
Ocean Market
Pollution Solution
Stranded Along the Sea
Reflections on the Sea
Words From the Ocean

 

How Can we Measure How Deep Water Is?

Are you looking for a way to get your students excited about exploring the depths of the water.  Have them take part in developing a model of the Atlantic Ocean  It's simple! First, Kids must study maps that give the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.  Pay special attention to major landmarks. Next, have students connect two chairs with a piece of string.  Make sure that you measure the distance from the top of the string (oceans surface) to the floor (oceans depths.) Now, using the scale that one foot down from the string = 12,000 feet  place regular classroom objects (books, desks, chairs...) to represent the different sections of the ocean.  Students can use a weighted string along with the scale (1ft+12,000 ft.) to lower down from the surface to check their depths.

Extensions:

  • Study the characteristics of the different ocean zones.  What effect does depth have on temperature, density, salinity of the water and the plants and animals that live there.

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can measure the depth of the ocean.


Further Studies:

Sea Level Rise
The Unseen Ocean Floor
Map Puzzles
Sampling the Ocean Floor

 

What is the Temperature of Your Water?

Do your students ever wonder how scientist find out the temperature of the water. by conducting hands-on experiments your students can learn to accurately measure the temperature of the water.  Connect a thermometer to a string with a weight at the end of the thermometer.  Lower the thermometer into a bucket of water and take the temperature.  Now, try different buckets that have varying temperatures of water.

  Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use your thermometers to measure the temperature of the ocean.

  • Learn how plants and animals have adapted to the temperatures that they live in.

  • How does the amount of sunlight affect the temperature of the water?


Further Studies:

Learn More about the Temperature of Water
Heat Loss of Water
Ocean Temperatures
Temperature and Water Density
Mountain in the Sea
The Stone Boat Mystery

 

How Dense is Your Water? 

Have your students ever asked how dense or thick the water is?  Students can make simple observations and engage in short experiments to learn a great deal about the density of water.  First, have students closely examine a sample of salt water with their eye, a magnifying glass, and a telescope.  They will actually be able to view particles in the water. Notice, some samples have more particles than others.  Next, use beakers to measure out the same size samples of water.  Have some with salt water, some with a mix of salt and fresh water, and some with fresh water (label.) Have students weigh those samples.  Remember, because they are the same size sample the heavire it is the more dense it is.

  Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use scales to weigh different samples of water collected from the ocean.

  • Explore how heating or cooling down the water will cause a change in the density.

  • Make a tin foil boat to hold 30 Unifix Cubes that will float in salt water but not in fresh water.


Further Studies:

Learn More about the Density of Water
Is Saltwater Denser than Fresh Water?
Water Density and Stability Lab
Why Don't Big Ships Sink?
Density Dynamics
Fluid Friction

The Stone Boat Mystery

 

What is the Salinity of Your Water?

Students can have a blast while they learn about the salinity of water.  Students will do a Saltwater Painting to once again observe the evaporation process. Mix warm water, salt, and food coloring. Paint pictures with the mixture on white paper. Let dry. The water evaporates, but the salt remains, creating beautiful pictures.  Discuss how this relates to the ocean being saltier in some places where the fresh water evaporates and less salty where fresh water meets the sea.

  Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use a simple salt tester (found in most pet fish supply stores) to measure the salinity of the ocean.

  • Explore why an estuary would have a lower salinity where as a tide pool may have a higher salinity.

  • How has the animal that your student is studying adapted to the salinity of the water in it's habitat?


Further Studies:

Why is the Sea Salty?
Stacking Water
The Stone Boat Mystery

 

How can we determine the pH levels (Acid vs. Base) of the Water?

There always seem to be a group of kids in a class that love to explore the chemical properties of water.  Engage them by studying the pH level of water.  Ocean water is naturally a bit acidic from rocks like limestone dissolving into the water and leaving very small traces of acid in the water.  Use litmus paper to explore the pH levels of various samples of water.

Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use litmus paper to find out the pH levels of the ocean.

  • What human problems cause the pH level of the water to rise.

  • How would a rising pH level affect the animals that your students are studying?.


Further Studies:

Measuring Aquatic pH
pH
Acid Rain
Effects of pH

 

Are there Nutrients in the Water?

Ocean water normally has many nutrients in it that help feed the plants and animals that live there. You can observe some of these nutrients with a magnifying glass or a microscope.  

Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock to collect water samples to observe for nutrients that live in the ocean.

  • Explore the how fertilizers (from farms and lawns) and phosphates (from detergents) cause plants to overgrow causing problems like "Red Tide."  How does this affect the animals that your students are studying?

Microfishing

 

What Plankton Samples can you collect from the Water?

Your students can now observe plankton in the water. The tiny animals and plants of the ocean's plankton are the basis of ocean food chains. These plants, like plants on land, have the ability to photosynthesize. Using chlorophyll, they capture the energy of the sun to make food, releasing oxygen in the process. Virtually all aquatic life depends upon these microscopic single-celled organisms for food.

Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use small nets (speak to your local aquarium to find our where to find plankton nets) to collect, observe, and then return plankton to the ocean.

  • What animal in the animals' that your students are studying food chains eat plankton?  

  • What would happen if the plankton died?

Further Studies:

Sinking Races

 

How are Waves Formed?

Your students probably have experienced waves while they were swimming, boogey boarding, or fishing in the ocean.  These waves are mainly caused by the wind and are mainly at the surface of the ocean. Your students can make a wave tank using a large (30 cm Wide X 30 cm deep X 3 meters long) Plexiglas container.  First, attach a wave generating paddle to the bottom of the tank  that can be moved to push the water (make waves.)  Second, at the other end of the tank slope a piece of Plexiglas from the bottom of the tank to the top to simulate the beach.  Third, attach a transparent grid to one side of the tank right in the middle. Finally, fill with water and make some waves.  There are excellent instructions on how to make and use a wave tank in Physical Oceanography.

Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the ocean where from a boat or dock you can use small nets (speak to your local aquarium to find our where to find plankton nets) to collect, observe, and then return plankton to the ocean.

  • What animal in the animals' that your students are studying food chains eat plankton?  

  • What would happen if the plankton died?

Further Studies:

Making Waves
Learn More About Waves
Understanding Waves

 

 

Why Does the Ocean Have Tides?

Your students can now learn about the causes and effects of tides as they explore the rise (high tide) and fall (low tide) of the ocean waters.  These tides come about six hours apart and are caused by the gravitational affects of the moon.  Have your students create a tide mobile to show how the moon's gravitational pull affects the tides. There are excellent instructions on how to make and use a Tides Mobile in Physical Oceanography.

Extensions:

  • Take a field trip to the beach and place a stick at the low level water mark.  As the water comes in watch the water level rise up the stick. At high tide  measure the depth of the water at the stick.  That is the level of the rise ion tide.

  • Use the Internet to collect data on tides in a certain region. Plot the tidal data to see the tidal curve.

  • How do tides affect the habitat that the animals that your students live in?


Further Studies:

Learn More About the Ocean Tides
Tide
The Tides
Tide Table- In the School Star Gardens

 

How Do Ocean Currents Affect our Local Ocean?

Explorers and scientists have known for centuries that there are ocean currents that can speed up or slow down a ship.  We are however just beginning to understand the major effects that ocean currents have on weather patterns and the ecology of the land near the ocean.  Using a aluminum baking pan, straw, chalk, and clay your students can make a current table. First, each student gets there own straw.  Second, students work in groups of four with one pan for their group. Third, on one side of the pan use your chalk to outline the eastern coast of North America.  On the other side use your chalk to map out the west coast of Africa and Europe.  Now,  fill the outline in with clay.  Next, fill the center of the pan with water.  Finally, when it settles students should hold their straw so that it is parallel to the surface of the water pointing from Africa towards North America.  Gently blow and observe what happens. Compare this to the Gulf Stream that runs along the east coast of the United States.  There are excellent instructions on how to make and use a Tides Mobile in Physical Oceanography.

Further Studies:

Learn More About Ocean Currents
Ocean Currents

 

Interdisciplinary Studies

Ocean/ Math Lesson Plans
Ocean/ Language Arts Lesson Plans
Ocean/Social Studies Lesson Plans
Ocean/Creative Arts Lesson Plans
Ocean/Physical Education Lesson Plans
Treasures@Sea
Creature From The Deep
Tools of the Trade

 

Field Trips

The study of the Ocean lends itself to some great field trips to the Ocean.  Below are a few suggestions of field trips to consider.

Whale Watch
Ocean Aquarium
Oceanographic Science Research Centers
University Marine Biology Centers
Conservation Organizations
Wildlife Reservation
Fishing Warf
Sewer treatment Plant/ Sewer Overflow Trip
Virtual Field Trips

Voyages of Discovery (Scientific Journeys)
Virtual Whale Watch
Virtual Helicopter Trip
Virtual Tour

 

Other Studies- There is so much more....

Sound Under the Ocean
What do Objects Look Like Under the Ocean
There is a Pressure Building Up Under the Ocean
Effects of Groins On Beaches
Beach Erosion
Water Pressure
Scuba Diving and Underwater Filming
How is Light Affected By Water?
Wetlands Transects

 

Fun Activities

The Java Aquarium
Sea Fun For Kids
Amazing Ocean Facts
Year of the Ocean's Kids Corner
National Geographic's Pirates
NEAq - Kid's Space - Make A Deep Sea Vent
Oceans Fishin' for Facts Scavenger Hunt Activities

 

 

Teacher Resources:  The Top Ten List of Great Books Every Teacher Should Own When Teaching an Ocean Unit

For a Complete list of great ocean books see our Ocean Books and Annotated Bibliography

 

Dorris, Ellen  Marine Biology (Real Kids, Real Science Books) 1993.

Thames & Hudson; ISBN: 0500190070 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

 

Fredricks, Anthony  Exploring the Oceans : Science Activities for Kids  1998.

Fulcrum Pub; ISBN: 1555913792 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

 

Knight, Lindsay  Under the Sea (Nature Company Discoveries) 1995.

Time Life; ISBN: 0783547609 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

MacQuitty, Miranda  Eyewitness: Ocean (Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books) 2000.

DK Publishing; ISBN: 0789460343 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

Nye, Bill   Bill Nye the Science Guy's : Big Blue Ocean  1998.

Hyperion Press; ISBN: 0786850639 (Library binding
Disney Pr (Juv Trd); ISBN: 0786842210 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

 

Sayre, April   Ocean  (Sayre, April Pulley. Exploring Earth's Biomes)  1996.

Twenty First Century Books; ISBN: 0805040846 (Hardcover)

 

 

Smith, P. Project Earth Science : Physical Oceanography 1994.

Natl Science Teachers Assn; ISBN: 0873551303 (Paperback)

 

 

Taylor, Leighton The Atlantic Ocean (Life in the Sea) 1999.

Blackbirch Marketing; ISBN: 1567112463 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

 

Time Life  Ocean Life (Time-Life Student Library) 1999.

Time Life; ISBN: 0783513577 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

 

VanCleave, Janice  Janice Vancleave's Oceans for Every Kid : Easy Activities That Make Learning Science Fun (Science for Every Kid Series) 1996. 

John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471124532 (Hardcover)

 

 

 

Waterlow, Julia  The Atlantic Ocean (Seas and Oceans Series) 1997.

Raintree/Steck Vaughn; ISBN: 081724509X  (Hardcover)

 

 

In Conclusion

Enjoy this Webquest! We welcome any feedback or ideas to make this Webquest more useful  Simply, e-mail your feedback to support@iwebquest.com.

 

 

OceanQuest 2001 Essential Questions Stay on Task  |   Ocean Hotlist  
Great Ocean Books  |  Fun Ocean Activities  |  Teacher's Page  |  Monthly Newsletter  

Choose a Marine Animal to Explore  |  Where Does Your Animal Live?
Investigate
Your Animal!  | Tell the World About Your Animal!

 



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