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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans

Indian Ocean Explored
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Additional Activities.


  • Videotape of INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER/UNKNOWN SEAS (Episode 3) which will premiere on PBS on November 16, 1998. (Check local listings for specific times.) If you are unable to tape the program on its initial airdate or subsequent rebroadcasts, get a copy of the video by contacting: WNET Video Distribution, P.O. Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05407-2284, (800) 336-1917.
  • A photograph of a whale shark.
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • Coral Health and Monitoring Program

    This site provides general information about coral reefs and the dangers they face, listings of current research projects, and useful links to other coral reef and ocean related sites.

  • International Year of the Ocean (1998)

    An educational site about the ocean. The "Kids' and Teachers' Corner" contains great educational activities and fact sheets.

  • Planetary Coral Reef Foundation

    The Planetary Coral Reef Foundation, a non-profit organization, monitors the health of coral reefs worldwide and provides technology for restoration of coral reef ecosystems.


    The wNetStation Web companion piece to the NATURE series, INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER.

    Time Allotment:
    This lesson requires approximately 4 class periods.

  • Introduce UNKNOWN SEAS to your class. You may want to direct your students to INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER, the wNetStation Web companion piece to the NATURE series. Distribute the Vocabulary List and Map of India, in Organizers for Students. Both will serve as references for students as they watch the video. As students view UNKNOWN SEAS, they will discover that appearances can sometimes be deceptive. One example of this is the whale shark. Distribute a photograph of a whale shark. Explain that this rare sea creature lives in the Indian Ocean and can grow as large as six elephants. Ask the class to predict what this species eats. Record all hypotheses on the board. Explain that whale sharks do not eat other fish; they usually eat plankton.

  • Engage students in the following discussion topics:

    The whale shark ingests huge amounts of water, filters out the plankton, and pushes the water out of its gills. How would the ocean be different without big sharks and whales. Why is it important to protect them?

    In the television program, distances and sizes are described in metric units. Explain that if you know a distance in kilometers, you can find out the equivalent number of miles by multiplying by .62; similarly, if you know the length in meters, you can figure out the number of feet by multiplying by 3.28. Ask students to calculate how many feet long a fifteen-meter whale shark is.

  • Distribute Program Viewing Questions, found in Organizers for Students. Students should answer the questions as they watch INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER/UNKNOWN SEAS. If you are unable to view the program in class, students should conduct Web research, using the bookmarked sites, to answer the questions.


    1. Coral fish graze on algae and are highly territorial. The host speculates that the bright colors of the coral fish serve as a warning signal to other creatures to stay away.

    2. The prawns and the gobies share the same home. The prawns are always shoveling sand, searching for food. The gobies get any extra food the prawns dig up. In return, the gobies watch for predators; the prawns are almost blind.

  • View in class INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER/UNKNOWN SEAS. If you are unable to view the program in class, direct your students to INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER, the wNetStation Web companion piece to the NATURE series.

  • Distribute Environmental Action, found in Organizers for Students. Students will be asked to design an environmental protection activity that the whole class can participate in.

    Choose, or have the class choose, one of the suggested environmental activities to use for a class project. (optional)

  • Homework assignment: Distribute There's No Place Like Home, in Organizers for Students.


    Art: Coral reefs are found in warm tropical waters near the equator. Reefs are built of the skeletons of thousands of tiny creatures called polyps. Have your class collaborate to create a large mural of a colorful coral reef that might be found in the Indian Ocean. Students may use pictures from magazines, books, or the Internet for ideas. Include some of the sea creatures presented in the television program and Web companion piece, including garden eels, reef sharks, sting rays, moray eels, sea fans, and clown fish. Students should try to make the reef look as authentic as possible, with hiding places, territories, grazers, and predators.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students