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Mystery Under the Sea

Of all the plants and animals that exist, 85 percent of them live in the ocean. Using their research and imaginations, students will create an above and below the sea diorama.

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

    1. Hold a discussion with your class about what lies beneath the ocean water’s surface with pictures of various oceans, sea life, and plants displayed in the classroom. Use student contributions to the discussion as a basis for ideas to create a diorama of the ocean.
    2. To make a diorama, fold a piece of 8 x 10 Crayola® Marker Pad in half.
    3. Next fold the edge of paper towards the center fold, creasing with your hand. Repeat the same with the other edge. This creates a door that can be opened.
    4. On the outside of the door, use Crayola Classic Colored Pencils and draw what happens above the ocean’s surface. For inspiration, students may refer to photographs of boats and seascapes. Have a discussion about different boats students might see.
    5. Next open the doors and draw what lies beneath the water’s surface. Encourage imagination. Besides fish and plant life, discuss the possibility of sunken treasures or ships.
    6. After completing the diorama, invite students to write a descriptive paragraph that will accompany their artwork.
    7. Have a discussion about the items included in the diorama. Are they real or imagined?
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-to-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: Write opinion pieces on topics supporting a point of view with reason

    SCI: Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.

    SS: Locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands and oceans.

    VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Encourage students to research the different formations on the bed of the ocean. Students may create an additional diorama illustrating these formations or create a 2-D sketch using Crayola Colored Pencils.

    Students stretch their vocabulary, adding terms connected to a study of oceanography to their personal word banks. Define words used to describe the actual seabed. Some examples: trench, crust, mid-ocean ridge, continental plate.

    Bring in a conch shell and have students hold it up to their ears. What do they hear, and why?

    Invite students to research the history of the Titanic. How is this historical event tied to the ocean?


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