Island Explorers Curriculum Home


Unit 2

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson Plan 7

Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension


Lesson Plan 3



How do planktonic organisms, which are not strong enough to swim against the current in the water, keep from sinking to the bottom of the ocean?

Plankton have a variety of strategies (adaptations) for staying above the bottom of the ocean in the water column.


  • Observation
  • Prediction
  • Inference
  • Measurement
  • Experimentation


Students will be able to:

  • Students will be able to describe strategies used by plankton to keep from sinking and test their predictions about certain strategies in a model building exercise.


  • 2 hrs. Allow time to experiment with the materials they will be using to design plankton.


  • Pictures of different types of plankton
  • Movie or video on plankton if available
    Plankton and the Open Sea, 18 minutes, Encyclopedia Britannica
    Plankton of the Sea, 12 minutes, Fleetwood Films
    Plankton: Pastures of the Ocean, 10 minutes. Encyclopedia Britannica
    Plankton: the Endless Harvest, 18 minutes, Universal Education
  • Various art supplies (sticks, string, beads, plastic, clay, styrofoam, wire, aluminum foil, nuts, glue, pipe cleaners, etc.)
  • Buckets of water
  • Large glass aquarium or trash can full of water
  • Stopwatches
  • Small prizes
    *Adapted from Living in Water
    To order, Contact Kendall-Hunt Publishing
    (800) 228-0810

Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension