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Dive Into Submarines

Dive deep! Make a model submarine while learning about the ups and downs of living and working in a huge underwater ship.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Submarines sink underwater, rise, and float on the surface. How? They change their weight using ballast tanks, which can hold either air or water. If the ballast tanks are filled with water, the sub becomes heavier and sinks. If the water is forced out, the weight of the vessel decreases and the sub rises. Students find out more about submarines, how they work, and their history.
    2. Students discover what it’s like to be a submarine crew member by studying illustrations and reading descriptions of life on a submarine. If possible, find someone to interview about life on a sub. Students make a realistic model submarine scene.
    3. Sculpt a sub. To make the hull, use Crayola® Scissors to cut a cardboard roll to the desired length of your submarine. Make two balls of aluminum foil. Insert them half way into each end of the roll. Glue in place with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the hull.
    4. Bend a chenille stick to form three propeller blades. Glue them in place on the aluminum foil. Air-dry the blades.
    5. Cover the hull of your submarine with Model Magic. Cut out two small posterboard rudder rectangles. Insert and glue them near the propeller. Air-dry your sub.
    6. Add Crayola Model Magic stripes to the hull. Cover the rudder rectangles with a layer of Model Magic.
    7. To make the conning tower, make a small cylinder out of Model Magic. Gently press it on the top of the hull. Use white Model Magic to make porthole windows on and trim around the base of the conning tower. Roll and bend a thin cylinder of Model Magic to make the periscope. Press the periscope on top of conning tower. Air-dry.
    8. Craft a diorama. Make an underwater diorama to display the sub by removing the top from a recycled cardboard box. Use Crayola Washable Markers to color wide stripes on white construction paper for a background scene.
    9. Cover the art area with recycled newspaper. Use a paint brush to lightly brush over stripes with water to blend colors and show currents. Air-dry the scene.
    10. Use Crayola School Glue to glue the background paper inside the box. Air-dry the box.
    11. Glue the submarine in place. Air-dry the diorama thoroughly. You could even create a fleet of your own futuristic submarines!
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

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

    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: 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 worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

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

    SS: Identify and describe examples in which science and technology have changed the lives of people, such as in homemaking, childcare, work, transportation, and communication.

    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

    Research the development of technology known as sonar. How did this technology aid in the use of submarines during time of war? Students organize their research into an essay format. Students sketch a submarine to accompany their written research. Provide a place in the classroom to display research and sketches.

    Bats, whales, and dolphins use the same scientific principles as sonar to locate their prey. Research ecolocation and report on this technology as it is used by animal species.


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