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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

The Ocean Biome: "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/ps101/bglasgold/oceanintro.htm

How it works:
This is a set of lessons on the ocean as one of the many biomes that exist on Earth.  The students  travel from the shore, to the coral reefs, to the depths of the ocean, and become familiar with the marine plants and animals that make their home there.  They learn what causes ocean currents and what effects these currents have on the adjacent lands. They learn what causes tides, and an on-line activity has the students track the daily tides at the beach near them. The technology part of each lesson gives the children many pictures of the ocean biome as well as activities to do on the computer. Technology is integral to the teaching of this program. One activity, which uses the scientific method, shows how cold and hot waters cause currents. Using cold and hot water along with red and blue food coloring, the children track how hot water rises and cold water sinks, thereby causing currents.

Standards addressed:  
Students demonstrate an understanding of organisms and their environments, the Earth's biodiversity, and changes that occur over time. They write an informative  report and use scientific notation for the writing of experiments.

Materials used:
This program involves the computer as well as hands-on experimentation. The materials needed are a computer with Internet capabilities, a printer and scanner, word processing programs, and Kid Pix or any other illustrating program. A digital still or movie camera would be ideal.  For experimentation, you need various everyday materials like food coloring, cups, cotton, rubber bands, graph paper, and the specific items that each experiment needs. All required materials are listed for each lesson.

The students:
This program is suitable for children of average ability in grades three through five.  The teacher has the flexibility of adapting each lesson to the capabilities of the students. The children should have basic computer knowledge (word processing, illustrating, printing, etc). Many of the activities lend themselves to small cooperative groups, both at the computer and during the experiments.

Overall value:
The overall value of The Ocean Biome is for the students to become aware of the diversity of life on Earth, and how all life here is dependent on other life. The effect of this, hopefully, will get students to appreciate how fragile our earth is and how they must become aware of ways to conserve our natural resources. The use of the computer enables children to increase their knowledge through the world of the Internet.  Instead of one textbook, students have a world of information available. Activities on the computer increase their technological skills as well as their subject knowledge. Learning about the different ecosystems on Earth is part of every state curriculum.  This program gives a teacher the opportunity to impart a valuable lesson.

The teacher needs to research the topics beforehand and make sure the relevant Web sites are accessible and working. Many sites are not available to students due to restrictions by school districts. Teachers need to have all the necessary materials  for the experiments. Practice working in small groups first so students don't get  bogged down.

About the teacher:
Bonnie Glasgold had been teaching in the New York City public school system for 22 years,
and has been a science enrichment teacher for eight years. She employs a hands-on approach to the teaching of science. Since the incorporation of computers and the Internet two years ago, she has geared her lessons toward a technological-science curriculum.


Subject Areas: 

Grade Levels: 



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