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Oceans in Glass: The Great White Shark Experiment

Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Can a great white shark survive, even thrive, in an ocean contained in glass? That's what the researchers and scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium hoped would happen when they introduced a great white shark into the spectacular habitat they created. Through the NATURE program, "Oceans of Glass: Behind the Scenes of the Monterey Bay Aquarium," students will learn about the efforts of the aquarium to acclimate a great white shark to life in captivity. They will also use the Internet and library resources to research the great white shark and create Web sites of their own.

Grade Level:
Middle School (Grades 6 to 8)

Time Allotment:
Six 45-minute class periods

Subject Matter:
Life Science - Environment, Endangered Species, Habitats

Learning Objectives

Students will learn about:
  • The operation of state-of-the-art aquarium facilities and their efforts to research and sustain life from the world's oceans.
  • The great white shark's behavior and adaptation to its environment.
Students will be able to:
  • Identify behaviors of great white sharks and the conditions necessary for their survival
  • Identify advances in technology and scientific research that support biomes of the world
  • Utilize video, Internet and print resources for their own research
  • Work collaboratively to produce a Web site, presentation, video, or other product.


From the National Science Education Standards for Grades 5-8
available online at

  • Science as Inquiry, CONTENT STANDARD A:
    As a result of activities in grades 5 - 8 students should be able to develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and cultivate an understanding about scientific inquiry.

  • Life Science, CONTENT STANDARD C:
    As a result of activities in grades 5 - 8 students should be able to develop an understanding of the structure and function in living systems, populations and ecosystems, and diversity and adaptations of organisms.

  • History and NATURE of Science, CONTENT STANDARD G:
    As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of science as a human endeavor, the NATURE of science, and the history of science.

From the National Technology Education Standards for Students for Grades 6-8
available online at

  • Standard # 4: Technology as a Communications Tool:
    Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences. Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

  • Standard # 5: Technology as a Research Tool:
    Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources. Students use technology tools to process data and report results. Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.

This lesson was prepared by: Dory Marcus