ALEX Lesson Plan


Splish! Splash!

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Christy Harrell
System: Opp City
School: Opp Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33146


Splish! Splash!


Let's get wet and wild with this exciting unit on the ocean!  Through the use of wonderful literature, art projects, research, and much more, the students will expand their understanding of what life is like for the creatures of the ocean.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (2)
6. Identify characteristics of animals, including behavior, size, and body covering
  • Comparing existing animals to extinct animals
  • Examples: iguana to stegosaurus, elephant to wooly mammoth
  • Identifying migration and hibernation as survival strategies
  • SC (2)
    7. Identify geological features as mountains, valleys, plains, deserts, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
  • Identifying local landforms and bodies of water
  • Identifying components of soil, including sand, clay, and silt
  • ELA2015 (2)
    25. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing. [W.2.5]
    ELA2015 (2)
    27. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations). [W.2.7]
    ELA2015 (2)
    28. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.2.8]
    ELA2015 (3)
    26. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of the first three Language standards in Grades K-3.) [W.3.5]
    ELA2015 (3)
    28. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic. [W.3.7]
    ELA2015 (3)
    30. Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.3.10]
    ELA2015 (3)
    33. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail. [SL.3.3]
    ELA2015 (3)
    34. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. [SL.3.4]
    SC2015 (2)
    9. Create models to identify physical features of Earth (e.g., mountains, valleys, plains, deserts, lakes, rivers, oceans).

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students, working in small groups with adult guidance, will participate in shared writing and research projects by:

    *reading several books on a single topic

    *using online websites to conduct research

    *synthesizing information from these sources

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Speaking clearly and at an understandable pace, students will use appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to report on a topic.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:


    A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle

    The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive by Joanna Cole

    Nonfiction books on various ocean animals and ocean habitats (coral reefs, tide pools, open ocean, etc.)

    Research Form (attached)

    Poem Form (attached)

    Pencils, crayons, construction paper, scissors, glue

    Various art materials (yarn, tin foil, cotton, tissue paper, google eyes, sequins, etc.)

    Blue bulletin board paper

    Rubric for research paper

    Technology Resources Needed:


    Teacher will:

    gather all books

    check websites to ensure availability

    make copies of Research Form (one per group)

    make copies of Poem Form (one per student)

    gather various art materials

    visit Magic School Bus @ Scholastic for additional ideas


    Day 1:  Introduction

    1.  Watch the Ocean Habitats video.  Define the word "habitat" and discuss the different habitats mentioned in the video.  Tell students that they will be learning about three of these habitats:  coral reefs, tide pools, and the open ocean. 

    2.  Label the Oceans worksheet.  Encourage students to memorize the names and locations of the oceans.

    3.  Place blue bulletin board paper on a bulletin board or wall for Ocean Mural.

    Day 2:  Life in a Tide Pool

    1.  Read A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. 

    2.  List the animals in the book.  Tell students that the animals in this story might live in a tide pool. 

    3.  Read a nonfiction book about tide pools. 

    4.  Watch the Tide Pool Timelapse video and watch Tide Pool Animals.  There are also many videos of tide pools on

    Exit Slip:  Write one fact you learned and one question you have about a tide pool.  Discuss the answers to questions students have at a later time.

    Day 3:  Coral Reefs

    1.  Read The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive by Joanna Cole.

    2.  Watch Coral Reef video

    3.  Use various art materials to make an animal that lives in a coral reef or tide pool. 

    4.  Place on ocean mural and label "Tide Pool" section and "Coral Reef" section.

    Day 4:  Open Ocean

    1.  Discuss the open ocean without mentioning any animals.  Ask partners to list as many ocean animals as they can that live in the open ocean. 

    2.  Make a class list of open ocean animals.  Read / look at pictures in nonfiction books about ocean animals.  Add animals to the class list that were not mentioned.

    Day 5: Research

    1.  Divide students into mixed ability groups of 2-3 students. 

    2.  Assign each group an ocean animal.  Include animals from each of the habitats studied.  Groups will use books and websites such as Ocean Animals Printouts from and the attached Research Form to answer questions about their animal.  If possible, ask parent volunteers or older students to help with this process.

    Day 6:  Revise and Publish

    1.  Teacher will model how to turn questions and answers into sentences to make a paragraph.

    2.  After several examples, students will use their completed Research Form to write a paragraph about their ocean animal.  If possible, ask parent volunteers or older students to help with this process including editing paragraphs. 

    3.  Groups will share their research with the class.  Students will ask each group questions about their animal using complete sentences.  Teacher will complete a Research Rubric for each group.

    Day 7:  Ode to an Ocean Animal

    1.  Teacher will discuss Cinquain Poems and read several examples. 

    2.  Give students the attached Poem Form. 

    3.  Students will choose an ocean animal and create a poem. 

    4.  Students will also use construction paper, scissors, and glue to make a simple collage of their chosen animal.  Display poems and pictures on the ocean mural.

    Day 8:  Ocean Celebration!

    1.  Invite students to bring ocean themed snacks for a class celebration. 


    Crab Race - Students walk like crabs by crawling backwards while facing upwards.

    Octopus Tag - Mark a goal line at each end of the playing area.  Choose a child to be the octopus, the rest are fish.  The object is for the octopus to catch the fish by tagging them with a sponge ball.  If a child gets hit, they must freeze and become an octopus tentacle.  The tentacle may help the octopus by using their hands outstretched to tag fish.  Only the octopus may move however.  To begin playing, all fish line up at one goal line.  The octopus calls out, "Fish, fish, swim in my ocean."  At this command the fish must try to cross the ocean without getting caught.  The last one to be tagged is the next octopus.


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    Assessment Strategies

    Teacher observation during each days lesson and activity.

    Student participation in discussions

    Attached rubric for research paper


    Students who show proficiency with computer skills will be given more independent research time.


    Parent volunteers or older students will help some students navigate the internet while conducting research.  They may also need assistance in writing the research paper.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.