An Ocean Adventure Sub Kit (Grades 3-4)

Use this substitute teacher kit for grades 3-4 that explores oceanography topics through a series of cross-curricular activities.
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Updated on: June 14, 2001
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Social Studies – Earth's Oceans
Materials: map of the world,
Earth's Oceans Activity Sheet

Display a classroom map or refer students to a map in a textbook.
Direct their attention to the water on Earth, explaining that water covers 3/4 of Earth's surface.
Point out that water from all the oceans is connected, but that we give separate names to each ocean.
Distribute Earth's Oceans Activity Sheet and have students work in pairs or small groups to label the map and answer the questions.

Science - Food Chains
Materials: reference materials, pencil, paper

Write the words "food chain" on the board. Explain that in a food chain several kinds of living things are linked because each uses the next as food. (Example: Wolves, owls, snakes, mice, and seeds make up a food chain.)
Use classroom books, reference books, or online references to help students find information about ocean food chains.
Encourage them to draw the food chains, adding arrows to show what each living thing eats.

Reading/Language Arts - My Life in the Ocean
Materials: paper, pencil

Work with the class to brainstorm an extensive list of ocean animals, such as shark, whale, dolphin, manatee, sea lion, squid, crab, lobster, and starfish.
Each student can select an animal and write a short story from that animal's perspective.
Prompt them by asking questions such as: Where do you live? What do you eat? What plants and animals are around you? What enemies do you have?
Have students use classroom or online encyclopedias to gather facts. Or encourage them to use their imaginations to write creative stories about their animals.

Math - How Deep Are the Oceans?
Materials: paper, pencil

Display the following information:

Depth of Four Oceans (Average):
  • Pacific: 13,740 feet
  • Indian: 12,740 feet
  • Atlantic: 12,254 feet
  • Arctic: 3,407 feet
Deepest Point in Four Oceans:
  • Pacific: 36,200 feet
  • Indian: 25,344 feet
  • Atlantic: 28,374 feet
  • Arctic: 17,881 feet
Invite students to write math questions related to the number facts. Examples: Which ocean is the deepest? How deep would the Arctic Ocean be if it were 1,000 feet deeper?
Invite students to exchange their math problems with a partner and challenge them to solve the problems. Once students have completed their problems, encourage them to switch partners and repeat the process.

Physical Education - Big Sharks and Little Fish
Materials: none

Take students outside or to a large open room.
Ask a child to stand on one side of the play area and pretend to be the big shark.
Have the other children stand on the opposite side of the play area and pretend to be little fish.
Identify a wall, tree, swingset, or other object as the "boat."
When you give a signal (such as clapping your hands), little fish try to "swim" to the boat without being tagged by the shark.
Little fish that get tagged become sharks in the next round.
Play as many rounds as it takes to have only one little fish left. He or she is the winner.

Art - An Ocean Mural
Materials: craft paper, art supplies

Lay a large sheet of craft paper on the floor and invite students to create an ocean scene. Their scene should include both ocean plants and animals.
Have them write labels for each item in the scene.
Guide them to title the mural.
Display the finished product on a wall or window.

Enrichment Activity

Distribute Our Amazing Oceans Activity Sheet to the students. Invite them to use art supplies to create an ocean board game that they can play with their classmates. Encourage them to use online and offline reference materials to find additional facts for their board game.
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