Setting up the Activity in your Classroom:

There are two expeditions within the Ocean Life online activity. as you plan your lessons, you may wish to print out any reading assignment pages and staple them into a book for individual students. Some sections that work well as printed reading are the field sites and field reports.

Depending on time available, the grade level, and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction. Teachers may use the guide to teach a complete unit or break the content into smaller learning components. Some suggestions are:

  • Use field reports to learn about one animal – either dolphins or turtles.
  • Play the Turtle Hurdle game as a quick activity for students to play and learn.
  • Follow the “Be an Explorer” section as a day-long field trip
  • Map the different field sites as a starting point to a geography lesson.

If a computer is available for each student, students can work on their own. Hand out the URLs or write them on the board so students will have a guide through the activity. Some sections that work well as individual activities are: playing the Turtle Hurdle Game and reading the Earthwatch Field Sites.

If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired Web site as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc. One section that works well as small group activity is the Dolphin Observatory where students can discuss the behaviors and co-author their observations.

If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break out your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer(s), reading printed field sites and field reports, holding smaller group discussions, researching and writing about ocean life.

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Stimulate Background Knowledge with these related links:

Web Links

BBC: Blue Planet Challenge, a natural history of the oceans
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/blueplanet/
Choosing from seven ocean environments, users can play a game that explains that environment and accept a challenge to explore the environment on a deeper level.

Marine Biology
http://www.marinebio.com/
For older students (Grades 7-12), the Marine Biology site is a wealth of information about specific ocean life species as well as conservation efforts and solutions. This is a good site to start ocean life research.

Discovery School: Planet Ocean
http://school.discovery.com/schooladventures/planetocean/index.html
Articles on the ocean, blue whales, barracudas and more allow users to learn about the complexity and diversity of ocean life. Includes a teacher tips and resources page.

Voyage of the Odyssey
http://www.pbs.org/odyssey/index.html
Follow the five-year trip studying the health of the world’s oceans. Watch videos of ocean life, track the voyage, participate in an interactive ocean, and more.

SeaWorld: Diversity of Life teacher’s guide
http://www.seaworld.org/just-for-teachers/guides/diversity-of-life/index.htm
SeaWorld presents this teachers guide complete with content area vocabulary and ocean life activities offline. The focus is on diversity and classification.

Mare’s Build-a-Fish
http://sv.berkeley.edu/showcase/flash/fish.html
The University of Berkeley presents this simple activity to give students a chance to build a fish that fits its environment. After picking a habitat, students pick a head, body, tail, and coloring for their fish. After choosing, the survive-o-meter will tell users how well adapted their fish was to the environment.

Lawrence Hall of Science: Whale Sounds
http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/whale/index.html
Listen to four whale sounds and learn to identify whale calls with their species. The site also introduces a Oscilloscope for students to read and create.

AOL@School search
http://www.aolatschool.com/teachers/index.adp
Search for more ocean life teacher resources and student activities by grade at AOL@School.

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Graphic Organizer Narrative:

Observation Journal: Grades 4-8
This observation journal  (PDF) helps students take notes on their observations of water systems. See Assessment and Evaluation.

Reading Comprehension: KWL : Grades 4–8
This Reading Comprehension: KWL (PDF) helps students the organize information they gather on ocean life. The lesson culminates with a presentation of their researched material either in a written report or oral presentation. See Assessment and Evaluation.

Source: The Big Book of Reproducible Graphic Organizers by Jennifer Jacobson and Dottie Raymer; Illustrated by Amy Redmond

Some of the resources on this page are in PDF format. To download them, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader Software.

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