For the second science co-op class I wanted to cover oceans in general. The materials and lesson plans that I had borrowed specifically used coral reefs for studying ocean life. While I am excited to present these lessons to the students, I still needed one more lesson to fill in our scheduled time. After investigating water, the next logical step was to discuss oceans in general. This would easily progress the class to the coral reef study the following week.
We began similarly to the first class, but this time listed "What We Know About Oceans." Finding all the oceans on a world map, each child colored and labeled their own personal size map. Next we read The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, by Joanna Cole. The children love these science stories filled with fascinating facts. We discussed some of the information, and then tried to put together a huge 100 piece floor puzzle called Under the Sea, by Melissa & Doug. The children pointed out different animals, and then we played "I Spy" using the floor puzzle. This puzzle is a beautiful illustration of a cross section of the ocean. Springing from the puzzle to the levels of the ocean was easy. We talked about the various zones of the ocean and how much, or how little, sunlight each received.
This discussion led to several demonstrations of how scientists have determined the depths of the ocean floor. Using a library find, Awesome Ocean Science, by Cindy A. Littlefield, the children made sounding lines connected to a small floating 'boat,' watched water stream out of a bottle due to pressure, and felt water pressure by inserting their hands into large buckets while wearing a bread bag glove. The favorite activity of the day was a different water pressure demonstration from the same resource. Littlefield suggests filling a tall glass with water and attempting to blow a single bubble at various depths. The children squealed with delight over this activity.
Class ended by summarizing "What We Learned About Oceans," and a snack. Beginning this week, I'll be using the lesson plans I borrowed from the previous teacher. Though it was fun to pull together two extra lessons, I am very grateful to not have to create a lesson every week for the rest of the school year. For the remainder of the ocean unit, we will study coral reefs in depth. Each student will be making their own coral reef model. I won't be sharing her lesson plans, but will share any extra ideas that I add to the unit.
A Wet Lesson on Water