A program of the Lawrence Hall of Science that seeks to increase ocean literacy through informal and formal education initiatives
Marine Activities, Resources & Education

Curriculum Description

The Fifth Grade MARE curriculum includes themes of global interconnectedness of the oceans and the productivity that supports large animals of the seas. The brief descriptions below will provide a sense of the Open Ocean activities. For a more detailed description, download a PDF file of the Synopsis and Key Concepts of each activity.

Download a session-by-session timeframe for teaching Open Ocean.
Download the National or California State Science Education Standards Correlation for the Open Ocean curriculum.

Activity 1: Apples and Oceans 3 Sessions

Students work in pairs, using an apple and a circle graph to represent the planet. They carefully section the apple and the graph into wedges representing various critical resources on the planet.

Activity 2: Planet Ocean  2 Sessions

Students participate in a wide-ranging brainstorm about what they already know, value, and enjoy about the ocean. They work in teams to explore a globe using a global exploration worksheet as a guide.

Activity 3: Waste Disposal  2 Sessions

Students discuss their personal experiences with currents and then make predictions about the best and worst locations in the ocean to dispose of waste from imaginary countries. They test their ideas with a simple model of an ocean and continents.

Activity 4: Current Trends  2 Sessions

Cooperative student groups examine the relationship between temperature, salinity, and density as the students rotate through three different activities and experiments set up as stations.

Activity 5: Ice Cubes  1 Session

Temperature and salinity are combined for students to look at the interactions that create ocean currents. Students make predictions about whether ice cubes will melt faster in fresh water or salt water and explain their reasoning. 

Activity 6: The Great Plankton Race  3 Sessions

Students observe, sketch and categorize a diversity of plankton from video footage and transparency cutouts, and focus on the adaptations plankton have to slow down how fast they sink. Students then construct plankton models from materials of various shapes and densities to simulate adaptations which slow sinking.

Activity 7: Squids—Outside and Inside  4 Sessions

Students work in pairs to dissect a squid and investigate its adaptations—its structure and how all the parts function together to allow the squid to survive and thrive in its open ocean environment.

Activity 8: Whale With Class 3 Sessions

Students explore evolution, natural selection, and adaptation by examining the highly specialized features and behaviors of whales.

Activity 9: Build An Open Ocean  3 Sessions

Students research an open ocean organism, complete a page for the class Field Guide, and participate in presentations to the class. Students then transform the classroom into an open ocean as they create 3-dimensional organisms.

Order Now, Grade 5 Open Ocean

Open Ocean Teacher Guides may be ordered at our online store or directly from MARE.