- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
About this book
- Identify animals, and more specifically mammals.
- Identify what sounds the animals make
- Spell different animals names
- Research animals and put that information to use.
- Use songs, books, pictures, and the computer/internet to accomplish most of these objectives.
Set Up and Prepare
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.
Objective: Students will be able to identify a marine mammal and compare and contrast it to all mammals.
Introduction: Does anyone know what a marine mammal is?
Read: Sea Otter Rescue by Roland Smith, section relevant to marine mammal description and encyclopedia definition
- Review the characteristics of mammals: they have hair or fur; they have 2 or 4 legs; their babies are born live. (Discuss difference between "egg laying" and "live bearing.") and marine mammals (% of life lived in water, warming adaptations, water adaptations.)
- Students will be able to identify which animal is a marine mammal when shown two animal pictures. "Why is or is it not a marine mammal?"
- Teacher will read a characteristic from a marine mammal Fact (otter, whale). Students will take turns identifying which marine mammal the fact describes.
- When a student guesses correctly, ask him or her to add another fact about that animal.
Conclusion: All students should be able to explain why an animal is a marine mammal.
Objective: Students will be able to understand the predators sea otters face in the wild. Introduction: Read Lootas Little Wave Eater: An Orphaned Sea Otter's Story.
- This game is called Whale and Otter. Go outside to the playground area. Mark out a rectangular playing area. On one end place paper sea urchins the teacher or students have made. In the center area place about four hula hoops which represent the kelp forest.
- The students start at one end with the whales swimming around the ocean (field). The object is to cross the ocean three times and get a sea urchin each time without being "eaten" (tagged) by an orca whale. The otter can hide in the kept forest and is safe from the whale, but he can only stay there for 1 minute.
- If someone is a mother sea otter, they have to get 5 sea urchins. Have one handicapped sea otter who has survived an attack by a killer whale. He has to hop on one foot. Try to have one whale per 4 otters. Play several rounds varying the ratio of whales to otters.
At the conclusion of the game, discuss and graph the results of each round.
Objective: Students will be able to make a model of a kelp forest.
Introduction: Sea otters live in kelp forests. Have the students make a model of a kelp forest.
- Use about 20 feet of brown paper to cut out the kelp's stripe. The width of the stripe should be about four inches.
- Next, have students make the kelp leaves out of green bulletin board paper. The length of the leaves should be about one foot. Make sure they make a bladder at the base of each leaf. Staple the leaves along the sides of the stripe. Hang the stripe from the ceiling of the classroom. You will have to actually staple some of the stripe across the ceiling to make the canopy.
- Make the holdfast out of baggies filled with salt or sand. Make rocks out of styrofoam blocks spray painted gray. Place the holdfasts on top of the rocks.
- Students can make large fish and sea mammals to suspend from the ceiling. They can make starfish and sea urchins out of clay and put them on the ground.
Conclusion: Students love to take a book and read in the kelp forest now that they can describe a Californian sea otter habitat.
Supporting All Learners
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.
Reading Language Arts
International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information.
- Students conduct research by gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing data from a variety of sources, and then communicate their discoveries to different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (i.e. libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and communicate knowledge.
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
National Research Council of the National Academy of Science
Science as Inquiry:
- Understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge
- Understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry
- Understanding of the scientific enterprise
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- The characteristics of organisms
- Life cycles of organisms
- Organisms and environments
- Structure and function in living systems
- Regulation and behavior
- Populations and ecosystems
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives:
- Characteristics and changes in populations
- Changes in environments
- Science and technology in local challenges
- Populations, resources, and environments
- Natural hazards
- Risks and benefits
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
- Global Connections (Students study global connections and interdependence)
- Science, Technology, and Society (The study of relationships among science, technology, and society)
- People, Places, and Environment (The study of people, places, and environments)
- Ideals, Principles, and Practices (The study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic)
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- Use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- Use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- Use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- Use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
- Use technology tools to process data and report results
Use the writing rubric as a way to assess your students' writing skills. This rubric can also serve as a model for a modified version that might include your state's writing standards. Ocean Life Writing Rubric