Under the Sea: Deep Sea Science
A few places come to mind when I think about uncharted frontiers: deep space, deep sea, and deep inside the tropical rainforest. (Deep, I know!) In a perfect world, our students would have the opportunity to explore these depths on extended field trips where they would get the opportunity make their own discoveries: authentic learning at its best. Since traveling to any of these environments with a class of 30 kids (or more) is nearly impossible, you will have to get creative to use the topics in your classroom. Fortunately, today’s technology can help you bring your students close to these uncharted frontiers without setting a foot outside the classroom.
Do words like bioluminescence, hydrothermal vents, and benthic storms sound like the stuff of science fiction to you? You are not alone! That’s part of the reason the topic is so intriguing to many students. Besides being interesting and fun, the topic lends itself well to introducing some important scientific concepts. After studying deep-sea phenomena, young explorers can better understand the ocean’s role in natural disasters and the creation of natural resources. The unique adaptations of deep-sea organisms can also teach students about survival in extreme environments. Hopefully, Joann’s deep sea post and my companion post introducing more ideas on the topic will give you plenty of tools to bring this scientific topic to life.
I chose some example resources from the Gateway to demonstrate the variety of activities related to the topic. Please take a look at these resources, but more importantly, try searching for yourself on the newly redesigned Gateway. My search for “deep sea” returned 72 results, and I had a hard time narrowing the list down to these few examples! Each resource I chose brought up similar resources in the right hand column of the Gateway helping me discover even more neat ideas for the topic. Enjoy these examples, and good luck finding the perfect idea for your classroom!
Some lessons span multiple subject areas with the study of a particular topic. Under the Sea from the New York Times Learning Network does this well by allowing students to invent deep-sea creatures, research actual deep-sea creatures, and write creative stories about the animals they are studying.
National Geographic Xpeditions has lots of well-written science lesson plans. One of their lessons, Fish Aren’t Afraid of the Dark! shows that even the youngest students can be introduced to complex topics like luminescence.
Although this is primarily a biology topic, a deep-sea theme can lead to studies in other areas of science. One interesting example uses the deep sea to frame a physical science lesson in designing a submersible.
Looking at pictures of deep-sea creatures makes me feel like I am looking at something from another planet. The lesson From the Gulf of Mexico to the Moons of Jupiter challenges students to use their knowledge of adaptations of deep sea creatures to “extreme” environments to predict the adaptations necessary for life in other “extreme” environments like certain environments in space.
Whether or not you plan to teach about the sea to your class this year, I hope you found some tips and ideas that will be useful to you and your students. Have a great week, and keep exploring!