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Undersea Adventure

Use your imagination as diving gear as you swim down deep to the ocean floor.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. During a unit of study focused on oceanography, invite students to watch videos of underwater explorations, look at photographs and other artwork such as Swimmy. Gather information about the ocean's topography and life. Students keep a list of vocabulary words connected to the study, such as coral, anemone, tides.
    2. Using their imaginations as diving gear, invite students to dive to the ocean floor. Glide into undersea caves, through coral reefs, ocean canyons, and over mountain ranges. Discuss what forms of life are seen there. What does the bottom of the sea look like? Students share their learning in small group settings.
    3. Students cover work areas with recycled newspaper. Use scrap paper to try various watercolor techniques, including these. Sponge painting. Dampen the paper with a clean sponge. Use other sponges to apply Crayola® Washable Watercolors. Tip the paper to blend and mix colors. Crystal patterns. After applying watercolors, sprinkle salt on the wet paper. Watch crystal-like patterns form. When dry, brush off dried salt. Spatter paint. To create wispy, irregular dot patterns, scrape a small piece of stiff cardboard over a stiff, paint-laden brush. Or use a small piece of screen with the edges taped for safety. Straw painting. Blow a large dot of thinned watercolor with a straw held at a low angle to create irregular, spidery designs. Try holding the straw at different angles to achieve other effects.
    4. On a large piece of watercolor paper, students use the selected watercolor techniques to add color and texture in creating a sea environment. For details, use a fine brush tip. Air-dry.
    5. For additional textures, use Crayola Scissors to cut (or tear) shapes from the dry experimental papers and glue them to the dry background with Crayola Glue Sticks.
    6. Add details with Crayola Fine Line Markers.
    7. Students share their artwork with small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships.

    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: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties.

    SCI: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

    SCI: Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

    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.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Simon & Schuster Children's Guide to Sea Creatures by Jinny Johnson; Ocean Life From A to Z b Cynthia Stierli; Eye Wonder: Ocean by Samantha Gray

    Students select a single organism represented in their artwork to research in-depth. Provide statistics about this organism on an index card and post it with the artwork display. Include such information as the average weight and length of the organism, its expected lifespan, whether or not it is included on the endangered species list, etc.

    If students have included an organism that is currently on the endangered species list in their artwork, ask them to research what happened to place it on the list, as well as what steps are being taken to revitalize the species.


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