Classroom Resources

Monthly Themes


Writing Prompt


The spectacular beauty of the ocean has inspired poets for centuries. Have students write a poem about the ocean. Suggest that they include sensory details in their poems.


Grades K–2: Art/Science
Undersea World

Children will create an undersea environment in their classroom while researching interesting facts about their favorite sea creatures.

Grades K–2: Art
Glue Grit

Have students create beach art, using nothing more than sand and glue. Have students draw an ocean-themed picture, using glue from a bottle with a tip. Then have students sprinkle plain or colored sand over the glue. Students can add descriptive words or dictate a story about the picture. Let it dry overnight.

Grades K–3: Reading/Language Arts
Fish Stories

Children will use their imaginations and what they've learned about fish to create their own entries in a fishing contest.

Grades K–2: Science/Art
Saltwater Paintings

Students will enjoy painting with colored “ocean water.” Materials needed include water, salt, food coloring, and paper. Mix one quarter cup warm water with 6 teaspoons salt and 3 drops food coloring in a small container. Then have students paint pictures with the mixture on white paper. Let the paper dry. After the water evaporates, the colored salt creates a textured picture.

Grades K–8: Science
Sea Salt

The ocean is a major source of salt for both commercial and home use. Have students “harvest” salt by dissolving a small amount of salt water (either actual ocean water or water to which regular table salt has been added) in a cup or on a sheet of black construction paper. Discuss the results with students.

Grades 1–2: Math
Fishy Numbers

Have students identify and count different types of fish.

Grades 1–3: Science
Underwater Food Chain

Have students create a hanging display showing three levels of a basic marine food chain.

Grades 1–3: Science
Shark Game

Children will practice their observational skills and reinforce their familiarity with different types of fish while creating their own card game.

Grades 1–4: Science/Art
Ocean Animals Calendar

Have students color a calendar featuring ocean animals and learn more about marine life.

Grades 1–4: Science/Art
See No Trash

Have students learn about ocean pollution as they color and collate a picture book.

Grades 1–8: Science
Ocean Collections

Have students bring in seashells or other ocean-related items to class. Provide students with dictionaries, encyclopedias, or other reference sources. Have students place each item on an index card or a piece of paper. Then have students label the item with both the common and scientific name, where it was found, and other relevant data. You might want to have students categorize items and then organize a classroom display.

Grades 1–8: Science
Freezing Waters

Have students explore the science behind freezing plain water and salty water. Conduct a simple experiment by having students fill three small containers with water. Then have students add a pinch of salt to one container and a tablespoon of salt to a second. Leave the third container salt-free. Finally, have students label the containers and freeze the water overnight. Discuss the results and explain that salt lowers the freezing point and is one of the reasons that ocean water usually does not freeze.

Grades 1–8: Science

Test students' knowledge about the ocean.

  • Who Lives in the Ocean? (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • Who Lives in the Ocean? Answer Key (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • Sea Creatures (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • Sea Creatures Answer Key (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • Under the Sea (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • Under the Sea Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
Grades 2–8: Language Arts/Science
Ahoy, Mate!

Have students say hello to friends and family ashore with an ocean-related e-card.

Grades 2–8: Language Arts/Science
Word Finds

Have students find words related to oceans hidden in a puzzle.

  • The Ocean (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • The Ocean Answer Key (grades 1–2) (PDF file)
  • Marine Life (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • Marine Life Answer Key (grades 3–5) (PDF file)
  • The Ocean (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
  • The Ocean Answer Key (grades 6–8) (PDF file)
Grades 3–4: Science/Art
Paper Whale

Students will enjoy making a whale, using the traditional Japanese origami method.

Grades 3–5: Science/Art
Life of a Fish

Have students illustrate and sequence the life cycle of Pacific salmon.

Grades 3–5: Math/Science
How It Adds Up...

Have your students use basic mathematical operations to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of overfishing on a threatened species, the Patagonian toothfish (also known as the Chilean sea bass).

Grades 3–5: Science/Social Studies/Language Arts
Ocean Stationery

Create a bulletin board of thank-you notes to the sea for its many gifts. Have students choose an ocean resource to research, such as food (fish, seaweed), minerals (salt, oil), or precious objects (pearls, gold, silver). Then have students write several details describing the item, its use, and its value to people. Have students include a message expressing appreciation.

Grades 3–5: Math
Tag It!

Scientists can't count every fish in the sea, so they rely on tagging and estimating. Have students practice this method, using painted pennies.

Grades 3–5: Science
Sea Gear

Have students make a primitive, but effective, water exploration tool: an underwater scope. Adult supervision is recommended.

  • Underwater Scope!
Grades 3–8: Social Studies
Ocean Time

Have students create a timeline of ocean exploration that occurred from 5000 BCE to the present. You can extend the activity by having students add dates and data from their own research.

Grades 3–8: Science
Model Vents

Sea vents are a newly discovered feature of the ocean floor. Have students discover the science behind this phenomenon as they make a model vent, using hot and cold water.

Grades 3–8: Science
Ask a Scientist

NASA's TOPEX/POSEIDON mission is studying the ocean from space. Have students brainstorm a list of questions they have about the mission. Then select the best question to pose to a scientist.

Grades 4–6: Science

Can your students distinguish between a shark and a ray? Have them compare and contrast two diagrams to learn the difference.

Grades 4–8: Science/Language Arts
Humpback Whales

Students will explore whale adaptations, behavior, migration, habitat, communication, and interactions with humans. Then they will present their findings.

Grades 4–8: Science
Seaweed Cuisine

Seaweed can be found in many common foods (ice cream, cheese, chocolate milk, dessert mixes, etc.). Have students read the labels of three or more food items found in their home cupboards, and see if any contain ocean seaweed.

Grades 4–8: Science
Moving Mountains

The science of plate tectonics accounts for the constant shifting of the ocean floor. Have students see firsthand the results of pushing and pulling virtual plates.

Grades 5–6: Science/Art
Coral Reef Mural

In this lesson, students will learn about coral reefs by creating a classroom mural.

Grades 5–8: Science
Looking for Whales

Have students go on a virtual boat trip in search of killer whales.

Grades 5–8: Science
Ocean Ecology

Have students work in pairs to create posters that show what people can do to protect and preserve the oceans.

Grade 6–8: Science
Seaweed Spies

By investigating common household products, students will discover that human senses are not enough to detect the presence of seaweed in food.

Grade 6–8: Science
Food Chain

In this activity, students will determine the sequential links in a marine food chain, identify the roles that various organisms play in this chain, and develop charts as visual aids for illustrating marine food chains.

Grade 6–8: Science
Keeping Warm

In this activity, students will learn about the whale's layer of insulating fat, known as blubber; conduct a simple experiment to test the effectiveness of fat as an insulator; and discuss how humans use insulating materials to protect themselves from cold exposure.

Grades 6–8: Science/Social Studies
Tabletop Tsunamis

Students build a tabletop village and use it to visualize the relative height and effects of tsunamis.

Grades 7–8: Language Arts
Crossword Puzzle

Have students test their knowledge of oceans.

  • The Ocean (PDF file)
  • The Ocean Answer Key (PDF file)
Grade 8: Science/Math
Ocean Mapping

Have students explore depth sounding by constructing and mapping the ocean floor.

  • Fathometer in a Box (PDF file)
Grade 8: Science/Social Studies
Ocean Productivity

Images taken from space give scientists important data about ocean productivity. Have students learn why the ocean is blue and locate the ocean's most productive areas.

Houghton Mifflin