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Grades 3-4


This lesson is designed to take the students on a tour of the different zones of life in the ocean and introduce them to the various adaptations that exist in different zones.

ITV Series
3-2-1 Classroom Contact: Ocean Environments: 3-D Sea (#17)

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Per Student
Pre-Viewing Activities
Begin by asking the students to think about how the ocean's surface waters differ from the waters that are thousands of feet deeper. Discuss students' ideas and explain the differences between sunlight, twilight, and midnight zones. Draw a diagram on the board showing how the sunlight filters through the three zones.

Explain that scientists are most familiar with the animals that live in the sunlight zone, since these animals (and plants) live closer to the surface and are relatively easy to study. Point out that people know a lot less about the animals that live in the deepest and coldest zones of the ocean.
Focus Viewing
To give the students a specific responsibility while viewing, tell them that the video will show them different zones of the ocean: the warm/shallow ocean, Arctic water, and the very deepest parts of the ocean. Ask them to look for an animal that lives in all three zones.

Viewing Activities
video beginning where the title appears on the screen.

after the diver states the three main conditions for coral reefs (sunlight, water temperature [68º-85º], and nutrients).

Ask students to repeat the conditions, and list them on the chalkboard.


after sturgeon and blue angel segment.

Ask students to name animals that live in the warm/shallow ocean zone. List them on the chalkboard.


when the man explains why they are going in the Arctic water.

Ask students to explain why the man is interested in Arctic sea life. Ask them to name animals that live in Arctic waters. List the animals on the chalkboard.


after the host explains that worms live in the deepest ocean.

Ask students to name an animal that lives in the deepest ocean zone. Add it to the list on the chalkboard.

tape until the end of the segment.

Post-Viewing Activities
Create a classroom library that contains books and magazines that show pictures of animals that live in coral reefs, Arctic water, and various ocean depths.

In groups of 2 or 3, have the students choose two animals to write about from the example pictures. After students choose their animals, have them decide what zone(s) the animals reside in based on general characteristics of life in different zones.

Ask the groups to write what zone(s) they believe the animals live in and support their choice with several characteristics they learned from the video presentation. (Examples may include: animals in deeper depths are usually smaller than those in shallower water; many animals in the deepest waters are luminescent; and many animals in the sunlight zone have dark backs and light bellies.)

Once the writing exercise is completed, ask each group to present and discuss their findings with the class.

Action Plan
Invite a marine biologist to talk about the marine environment. Have students write a story for the school newspaper about the biologist's visit.

Write or e-mail oceanographers and other marine specialists about their work -- what they've discovered about the ocean and what special preparations humans must take prior to a dive.

If possible, visit a local zoo and ask marine specialists what preparations are necessary for ocean/aquatic displays -- including food, light, temperature, and water.

Answer math teasers about the ocean. For example:
·Brain coral grows 1 yard in 250 years. How much does it grow in a year?
·A diver found some coral that was 40 feet thick. How old was the reef?
·If coral has a diameter of 1 foot, what is its circumference?

Social Studies:
Use a globe, world map, or CD-ROM to locate each ocean on the earth.

Research how people use the ocean for commerce and transportation.

Create your own fish based on ocean adaptations. Draw it in its habitat and describe its characteristics. A computer drawing program could also be used.

Make a model of a coral reef.

Language Arts:
Write a story about a dive into the ocean. Describe what you see and feel, and describe some of your discoveries.

Read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne.

Research via CD-ROM or the Internet information on other, different aspects of the ocean -- currents, trenches, mid-ocean ridges. Create a multimedia presentation of the findings.

Discuss other ocean topics, including sonar (whales, porpoises, and submarines), saliency (buoyancy), and water pressure.

Master Teacher: Kristin Bordenkircher

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