Life on the Ocean Floor

Life on the Ocean Floor lesson plan

Which creatures live on the ocean floor? In which zone? Depict life in either the sunlight, twilight, or midnight zone—and keep your science project Earth-friendly by recycling a box.

  • 1.

    Salt water covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface. Although the ocean surface looks pretty much the same anywhere on the planet, what’s below the surface is as varied as life on land. Here is one way to create a cross-section of the ocean.

  • 2.

    There are two ocean environments, the open ocean and the ocean floor. Find out what the ocean floor looks like. You will learn that there are three different zones in the ocean—sunlight, twilight, and midnight—determined by how much sunlight is present. Each zone has different temperatures, water pressures, and nutrients for plant and animal life. What zone will you display in your project?

  • 3.

    The organisms that live in the ocean are determined by what part of the ocean they live in. Plankton and zooplankton drift near the surface of the water. They cannot move by themselves. Nektons are the organisms that swim and Benthos are the creatures that live on the ocean floor.

  • 4.

    Here’s one way to transform a recycled box into an ocean-floor habitat. Use Crayola Crayons and Washable Markers to decorate construction paper to cover the inside of the box.

  • 5.

    With Crayola Metallic Colored Pencils, Crayons, and Markers, draw the creatures for your ocean box on construction paper. Cut out thread long enough to hold each one. Tape thread to the backs.

  • 6.

    Ask an adult to poke holes through the box so you can suspend your creatures from the top. Thread the stringed figures through holes and tape thread in place. Cover the outside of the box with decorated construction paper.

  • 7.

    For a science project, label the parts of your diorama and prepare a report on the life shown in the saltwater environment.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • LA: Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
  • MATH: Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit. Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using the information presented in the line plots.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen; The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce; Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk; Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
  • Students who choose to promote the same book can collaborate in creating an advertisement for the book and its author. Use Crayola Colored Pencils, crayons, and markers to create an eye-catching poster for the selected book. Encourage students to create posters for most, if not all, of their suggested books. Organize the posters according to category of genre, such as fantasy, biography, historical fiction, etc. Post organized student artwork in the school library and/or school hallways.
  • Consider taking a poll of all students in the grade level l to find the favorite book. Organize data collected in during the poll into a bar graph or line plot of the top ten books to illustrate how the votes were cast. Colorize the graph using Crayola Colored Pencils or markers.