for lessons > Go
back to search results > Lesson
title or topic of activity
Marine animals and their Environments
| In this activity the students
will show what they have learned about marine environments, specifically
the three main types, corral reefs, open oceans and bottom ocean.
They will show what they have learned this by designing the environments
using large moving boxes and designing the fish and/or animals that
will be living within these environments. By physically designing
these environments the students will get a better idea of why certain
animals live where they do and the reasons behind why only certain
animals and fish area able to live where they do.
|The grade levels that are
targeted are 4th and 5th graders.
description or introduction
The scientific principles
that the activity is founded on.
|Begin by asking the students
what they think the environments that are found in the ocean. Do they
think they vary like our environments do? Why would fish and other
marine animals need to adapt to their environments? How do we as humans
adapt to our environments? Get the students to ask questions and become
interested in the lesson plan so that they are excited about the project.
Marine animals are adapted to their specific habitat. Fishes and other
marine animalsŐ main concern in life are that they must be able to
find food where they live and MUST protect themselves in the area
that they are found in. Without these two main points, marine animals
cannot survive in the ocean. The three main types of environments
are corral reefs, open ocean, and oceans bottom. These environments
area also known as photic zones, twilight zone, and deep sea. These
later names area a little more advanced and should only introduced
to the children if they are advanced enough in marine biology.
In order to be able to give this lesson plan to the children you,
(teacher) must supply them with prior knowledge of ocean life. Like
human life, environments they change depending on where in the world
you are found, from icy mountains to sandy desert where water is
scarce. This main principal applies to marine life as well. In the
marine world there are three main types of environments, corral
reefs, open ocean, and the sandy bottom ocean. When looking and
fish and other marine animals it is easy to be able to pick out
where they live by the features they posses.
The corral reef is the area just off the shore that has a great
diversity of animals. These animals are usual bright colored and
are most often found in saltwater aquariums. They are small, fast
sprinters, very decoratively colored (a type of camouflage) and
sometimes have pointy mouths so that they are able to nibble off
the corral. Examples of marine animals from the reefs are Butterfly
fish, Triggerfish, Parrotfish, snails, sea stars, Damsels and flatworms.
These animals are also able to hide in the reefs in many of the
nooks of the reefs because they are small enough to do so.
The open ocean is also filled with a wide variety of species but
are designed a little different. These organisms are usually larger,
very fast swimmers, have darker backs and lighter, silvery bellies
(countershading, a form of camouflaging), can travel long distances
and usually are the main predators of the seas. Ex: sharks whales,
schooling fish, dolphins, octopuses, and squids. Countershading
is a form of defense so that when there are predators above the
animals there are backs are darker and look like the bottom of the
oceans.When the predators are under the animal and look up the belly
is lighter and looks like the sun reflecting off the ocean.
The last environment is the bottom of the ocean. These fish are
special in the sense that they are very different in shape and function.
The animals that live on the bottom of the ocean are unique in the
sense that they are very different in shape. You can find animals
that are flat or flat underneath them. Also, in the areas that are
too dark and light cannot reach, many of the fish found have a feature
called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is where the organism glows
and they use that as a source of light for them to find their way.
for the activity
| This idea was taken from Saxxon
and Weber from a website http://student.biology.arizona.edu/sciconn
the lesson plan is called "Predators/Prey: Fish, Feeding, Environments
and General Behavior". My idea was taken from activity #1 and expanded
to become one project that is more intense and requires more thought
and input from the students
time to do the activity
|Learn about marine environments
Science Education Standards. (NSES)
content standards that this lesson plan covers:
|Using data to construct reasonable
explainations. Ask questions about objects, organisms, and events
in the environments.
- construction paper,
- 3 moving boxes,
- markers,crayons, pencils, highlighters,
- salt dough (4cups flour, 1cup salt, 1cup H20)
|The moving boxes need to have
the wider side cut off to have access to the inside of the box. You
also need to be able to sit the box on a table to display the environments
the students have created. The size of the box depends on the size
of the class. The box size and number of fish can increase or decrease
according to the teacherŐs descresion.
Procedure for the Activity
**Divide the class into three groups. Assign each group a box and
an environment to create. From what they have learned, the students
are to build and design the environment in the most creative way
they can with the supplies that they have to use.
**This should take about 1-2 hours depending on that you, as the
instructor have put aside for this project. The instructor should
be present to answer any questions that the students may have.
**Three NEW groups are to be assigned so that the children are mixed
up from yesterdayŐs groups. Each group is assigned an environment
for which they are to make fish that are to be put inside the box.
**With their knowledge of their environments and the many types
of organisms that can be found in them, they are to make three fish/animals
per student. No fish should be made twice.
**The students are to use as many resources as possible (prior knowledge,
books, teacher assistance, library, etc.)
**Once the fish are complete they are to go to the boxes and place
the fish inside. The students may choose to hang the fish with string,
glue it to the box or staple it to the box.
work sheets, additional web pages
for discussion or conclusion
|Why would small fish be found
near the reefs?
|If you live near the bottom
of the ocean, why would you want to be flat?
|Why do the fish near the reefs
have brightly colored bodies?
|How does countershading help?
|Fish are made to live in the
areas they do for protection, food, and the ability to blend into
their environments. Everything has a reason for being where it is.
The main reason that fish are where they are is because of protection
activities which relate to and extend the complexity of the experiment.
|Once students have
aquired the knowledge, teachers may opt to study about life in the
reefs, or bony fish vs. catilage fish.
A web address with information on the topic of the activity.
|Marine Biology by Castro
and Huber (text book)