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Deep Sea Detectives

Discover the wonders that lie under the sea! Go on a research expedition to find out more about the underwater world.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Salt water covers nearly three quarters of the earth. The plants and animals underwater are as plentiful and diverse as what we see on land. The ocean is still vastly unexplored and new species are discovered each year.
    2. Have students pretend they are a marine biologist. Have students select an ocean animal to research. What does this creature look like? How does it live? What does it eat? Students use a piece of construction paper to record their findings on a fact sheet with Crayola Washable Markers.
    3. Students draw a realistic picture of their sea animal. Cut out the picture with Crayola Scissors. Create a habitat “aquarium” for the animal using a recycled plastic container or glass container. Give the container a watery appearance using Crystal Effects Window Markers.
    4. Place the animal in the aquarium. Add additional recycled household items or illustrations to embellish the aquarium. Try to make the animal and its environment as realistic as possible.
    5. Students present the poster and aquarium to the class to share the information they have learned through this underwater adventure!
  • Standards

    LA: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built world.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered species.

    SS: Suggest ways to monitor science and technology in order to protect the physical environment, individual rights, and the common good.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Marine Biologist (Cool Careers) by William David Thomas; Awesome Ocean Science by Cynthia A. Littlefield; Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life by Nancy Knowlton; Marine Biology by Ellen Doris; Under the Sea by Anna Melbourne

    Students ponder the question, "How does our life on land impact the oceans?" In small groups, students discuss this question and research from the point of view of a scientist looking to preserve the oceans' health. Students gather information on how human lifestyles are impacting the sea and sea life. Pose possible changes that humans could make to lessen the impact. Groups prepare to present their research and recommendations to the class. The class can debate the possible effectiveness of these recommendations.

    Organize a field trip to a local aquarium. Prior to the trip, students compose questions for presenters. Upon returning from the field trip. Students can post their learning to a class blog. Additionally, students sketch an aspect of sea life that intrigued them. Attached to their sketches should be 1-2 sentences explaining their sketches.

    Students investigate the life and career of a well-known marine biologist such as Dr. Eugenie Clark. Organize research into an electronic presentation and be prepared to present it to classmates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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