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Ocean Unit

Compiled By: luv2teach77

A collection of ideas to use when teaching a unit about oceans and ocean life.

Posted by: Marlena

Hiya Rosie,
Yes, there are TONS of cool stuff you can do on oceans. Here is just a few of the things I did...let me know if you need more! : )

A globe (rubber ball) Have the kids toss it around the room and mark on a tally sheet where there left thumb lands on the end they will see that the world is mostly covered in water. There is also a mathematical formula that shows how to calculate percentage.

Water Density: Take 3 containers of water. Add a different food coloring to each one. But leave one "plain" water-no color. Add varying degrees of salt to "2" of the containers...make sure one has a lot of salt. Now you have to use a dropper and drop the varying degrees of salt water (just a drop or two) into the plain water and see which salty water sinks. This is really a cool experiment because you can have the kids predict which water will sink, etc...I did it once but I had 4 different color salty waters and it was was GREAT...we had a nice rainbow container in the end. This takes time, but it's worth it, the kids seem to love it.

Ocean floor. Mix cornstarch, water and sand (play sand is ok) Let it come to a boil in a pot and it becomes this great sand mix. You can have the kids make their own "ocean floors" like sea arches, valleys, etc...Plus it's messy and they love it. AFter that I had them draw and diagram there models, so that was cool.

Oil spill: You can spill veggie oil in a pan and kid can put different items in pan to demonstrate what happens during an oil spill. You can also experiment with different substances to clean up oil spill and have the children discover which one cleans the best...etc They can also predict, etc...

Gosh - there is more!!! Let me know if you need it!

YEA! The Ocean
Posted by: Kim

AH, a girl after my heart . . .the Ocean is my ALL TIME FAVORITE unit to teach . .

I have TONS of ideas . . it depends on where you are going with this . . .I can outline a few of the things I do and if you need more info then e-mail me . . .

I first off want to tell you I teach Kindergarten in a school that is 99% Hispanic and I speak 1% Spanish . . .they are roundy and active and everything I have done has been HUGLY successful . .

I focus more on the Ocean, especially whales. They learn about the whales and what they can do. breech, spyhop, etc. Then we write a HUGE class book called A Whale of a Tale based on Brown Bear - so it goes like this . .
Susie Susie, what do you see,
I see a whale breeching at me . . . .etc They LOVE it. We have a HUGE publication party with cake and punch, invite parents and adminstration and the kids read "their' page. They get all dressed up and we talk about authors and illustrators . . talk about fun

We also have a fish tasting - this is a RIOT. Each family signs up for a fish to bring in from squid - to shark to canned calm chowder. You do NOT need much it is a TASTE . . .make sure you have LOTS of catusp. I give each child a taste but do NOT tell them what it is until they have tried it. Then we graph results. Paretns are ALWASY amazed at what their kids ate!

We read House for Hermit Crab. I make sandpaper blocks and when the crab goes. "scritch scratch' all the kids use the blocks. Then as a class we make crab cakes . .Those go over BIG . .everyone loved those.

I also make a 'life' size whale. I take the long longs of butcher paper and tape two pieces together - to make one HUGE piece . .I do that twice. Then I draw an Orca. The kids then paint him all black. Then we stuff him with newspaper and staple or hot glue hm together and hang him from the ceiling. He is HUGE and IMPRESSIVE. The kids LOVE it. and it is easy.

I also do a project about how much of the earth is covered in water. I give them a paper circle cut into 12 even slices. They are to color how much they think is water blue and land brown. Then I bake a pie blueberrys are the water and strawberries are the land . .it is delicious and a great visual and of course the kids love it.

These are only a few of the ocean ideas I use. I would love to chat with you to share any others should you need more -or to discuss others if this is not what you were looking for . . .

Good Luck . .


Ocean water and Whale Activity
Posted by: hescollin

Salt Water Experiment: Did you know that it is easier to float in the ocean than in the swimming pool? Do you know why? Salt. The ocean is full of salt. Salt water can hold up more than plain water. That is why you can float in the ocean more easily. Try this experiment to see for yourself. You'll need:

*2 clear, wide mouth, plastic jugs or jars
*9 cups warm water
*1 cup salt
*raw potato
*measuring cup

Pour 4 and 1/2 cups warm water (half of the water) in one jar and add salt. Stir with spoon until salt has dissolved. Pour the other 4 and 1/2 cups of warm water (last half of the water) in the other jar. First put the potato into the jar without the salt and watch it sink. Then put the potato into the jar with the salt and watch it float.

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ocean sand cups
Posted by: Belle

We make these each year in school for our end of the year's kind of along the lines of making "dirt and worms" - the kids make vanilla pudding and fill a short/clear plastic cup with the pudding....then they crush vanilla wafers and sprinkle it on top of the pudding for "sand" then we take those silly little drink umbrellas you get and put them into our "sand" and eat up :-)


Ocean experiment
Posted by: Lori

How about a salt water experiment? I used to do an experiment where we watched 2 dishes of water (one "fresh" water and one "salt" water) over several days. As the water evaporates the students can see that the fresh water just disappears and of course the salt water leaves behind salt. You could have them taste the salt water too. Just dip a q-tip into the solution and then place it on their tongue. I have also put "fresh" water and "salt" water into two plastic see through containers. The students can then see how you can see through the fresh water and the salt water is kind of foggy. Is this what you are looking for?

How about this: After reading many books on oceans and ocean animals I do an activity so that the students understand just how big ocean animals can be. I found the lengths of different animals; killer whale, dolphin, hammerhead shark, etc. and measured string to that length. The students can stretch the string out and see just how large the animals are. You will need to do this in a gym or on the playground. They can never get over how BIG the animals are.

Hope this helps! Good luck.

Posted by: Melissa

We made an ocean mural. I got ocean books and displayed them. For science, they researched some information about ocean fish. They then each picked an ocean animal that they wanted to make. They made fish out of different materials. Paper plates folded in half for crabs and jellyfish. Construction paper drawings of fish. We cut everything out and make a great mural. We painted the bottom of the mural with brown paint. It was sponge painted. Then we cut thin strips of green paper for the seaweed. Finally, to bring in swimmy, in the center of the mural was a large fish that i traced. Inside the kids stamped fish inside of it with a fish stamp that i purchased from Walmart. They dipped it in paint and made one large fish out of small fish stamps. Just like in Swimmy! It turned out beautiful and the kids loved it. If you want I can take a pic of it.

Posted by: Ruth

After we read books and study about oceans, I like to do a crayon resist art project. Have the kids color various ocean creatures, shells, sand, rocks, etc. Encourage them to color dark and heavy. Do not color background. When they are done, I call a few at a time to our paint center and have them paint over their picture with a tempera wash. If they color dark enough, it will resist the paint. I mount them on wave frames and label with fish name tags to put on our bulletin board.

Posted by: kat

you could also graph favorite ocean animals.

you could make fish and jelly fish---I did this with my clas and they are so cute!!!! You need Extra large coffee filters---don't know where to get them cause they were already at my school. Anyway, have the kids color them with watercolor markers. Spray with water and the colors blend. to make regular fish fold the fish and stuff the center with paper. Use a pipecleaner to hold it together, glue an eye on and and streamers for tails. For the jelly fish color and spray the same way. Staple two together while stuffing them. Add streamers and other stuff to make it look cool. Hang from ceiling. Very cool project and the kids LOVED it.

Ocean ideas
Posted by: Rose Ann

I teach 2nd grade and am presently beginning an ocean unit with my little ones. One idea that I do every year is to let them make an underwater scene by using thumbprints on blue paper. They print their thumbs five or six times.The next step is to let their creativity come into action.Challenge them to make their prints into fish by adding eyes, fins, gills, etc. You would be surprised what they can come up with. I encourage them to use things that we have talked about in class such as kelp, sea anenomes, coral and sponges.
Another fun thing that I do and the kids seem to like is to make fish from newspaper patterns that I cut out. They trace and cut two each from newspaper. I staple together and they stuff with crumpled newspaper. Then I staple it shut. The next step is to give each student about 30 brightly colored circles about 2-3" in diameter. They overlap these circles "scales" and cover one side of the fish. I give them one white circle and a smaller black circle for the center of the eye. Hang multi-colored streamers from the tail and hole punch in the top- add a pipe cleaner - now your ocean fish is ready for hanging.
Hope you enjoy these ideas.

Posted by: Donna

I know its too late this year but... when I did ocean unit..I had a small plastic swimming pool from Walmart in my room and filled it with sand. If you have a sand table that will work. I then added lots of seashells. The children were to go and "Find" 20 shells and put them in a bucket. Then they did activties such as arranging them small to large, large to small, sorting them according to size, shape, color. Grouping them rough and smooth.....I also had two large beach umbrellas which I put in reading center with beach towels to lie on while reading....Float and sink activities in water center are always a hit...I also enlarged some pictures of sea animals on large poster board and then had the students measure them in math using unifix blocks or links. I have retired but I sure miss doing these things. Hope this helps next year!!


Rainbow Fish
Posted by: Darci

Hi! How exciting! We do an entire month on whales and fish......and tie it into our mammals unit. We even have a whale that is made of tarps and is inflated with two box fans. It is the size of the gym floor and we actually have class in it! I have tapes of whales (those tapes you buy at Target that have music and sounds of nature). We lay in there with flashlights and pretend we are either in a whale or an actual whale. I have several other books that we use that have cool things to do to go along with them. (Let me know if you want titles.)
I have the kids decorate a pretty-good-sized fish that I have cut out of either paper bags or brown mailing paper. I cut out two shapes each and staple them together and then we stuff them with just several kleenex. It makes them 3-D. They get to choose the color fish they make, but it must be ONE color of tissue paper. (I have small rectangles cut out of each color available and then have the rec. in baggies so each student gets to choose one.) We talk about which way the scales go and then they run a gluestick on ONE END of the rectangles and put them on the fish. (Begin at the tail and then have them overlap them until they get to the head. You can help them trim them up if it gets too wild, but they catch on quickly if you show them an example.) I give them two wiggly eyes when they are done for fun. Then as I read the story of The Rainbow Fish, I bring out my "beautiful fish" completely made of that silver-glittery wrapping paper that you can purchase at Target or the like. It works great! I have extra scales in a baggy cut from my glitter paper and at the end of the story, I share a beautiful scale with each student who glues it on theirs.
I hang them from the ceiling in our reading meeting center and the kids tell me it is like sitting in an aquarium! lol We do this in the winter and the kids loved it so much that they voted to leave it up all year!
Enjoy your underwater adventure this year! Darci