Electronic Learning
LANGUAGE ARTS/SCIENCE
Ocean Creatures and the Web of Life

Activity: Students will learn about animals that live in the sea and how they survive in their unique habitats.

  1. Review the concept of a food web with your class: A food web shows who eats whom within a habitat. Every animal needs food to live, whether it eats plants, other animals, or both. All plants and animals depend on one another to survive. For example, imagine this food web in your backyard: A plant is eaten by an insect; the insect is eaten by a frog. What would happen if the plants were destroyed? How would this affect the frog?

  2. Explain that there are food webs in every ecosystem in the world, including the ocean. Visit the site The Living Sea: Predators and Prey to see an example of a food web in the ocean. If predators are animals that eat other animals for food, and prey are the animals that are eaten, identify the predators and the prey in this food web. Can an animal be both predator and prey?

  3. As a class, brainstorm about animals that live in the ocean, as well as those that swim near its surface. Keep a list on the board. Have youngsters investigate the Web sites below to learn about other animals and add them to the list.

  4. Ask each student to choose a sea creature they’d like to learn more about. Using the Web sites below, have them find important facts about their animal, such as size, physical description, which ocean it lives in, how deep in the ocean it lives, and where it migrates. Encourage students to include facts about diet. Is their animal a predator, prey, or both? Have them draw simple food webs showing this sequence.

  5. Finally, invite students to look at the ocean through the eyes of the animals they’ve learned about. Have each child use the facts he or she gathered to write and illustrate a one-page story from the point of view of the animal: Where do they live? Who are their enemies? Which animals might fear them? What is their environment like? If they are endangered, why are they?
On-Line Theme Unit

Shark

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Sites:

The Living Sea: Predators and Prey
http://www.mos.org/oceans/life/webs.html

Animals of the Sea
http://www.germantown.k12.il.us/html/animals1.html

Sea World: Aquatic Safari
http://www.seaworld.org/VirtualAquarium/aquaticsafari.html

Monsters of the Deep
http://www.abc.net.au/science/ocean/monsters/default.htm

World Wildlife Fund: Endangered Species
http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/species.cfm