WHAT IS THE OCEAN?
Students are usually fascinated with the ocean making it an ideal theme through which to introduce many aspects of science and other disciplines. The vastness and unknown inhabitants of the ocean excite and stimulate student interest! Before we begin this curriculum, we will start by finding out what the student knows and "warming them up" to the subject. A variety of assessment exercises, as well as a fun investigation of their favorite marine animal are the main ways this is done.
Then as we move into Unit One activities we start from the bottom, literally! Students are introduced to basic geology and plate tectonics so they have an understanding of how oceans form. The ocean floor can vary from smooth sandy bottoms to massive canyons and mountain ranges. In addition, coastlines and beaches form and change. Students will not only gain a basic understanding of these topics, but also learn how to map and present this information.
Once the structure of the ocean is completed we start filling the ocean basin with water and investigate its unique nature. Waves, currents and tides are a major part of understanding how the marine environment works. Students will also investigate the special nature of water, sea water in particular. By participating in a variety of activities which focus on these topics the students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the physical aspects of the ocean. Then they will be prepared for Unit 2, to learn about "What lives in the ocean"!