What Do Marine Biologists Do?

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Students will explore like marine biologists by observing sea animals, recording their data, and sharing with others.

Big Idea

Marine biologists make a contribute to our world by using their expertise to help humans understanding living things in the ocean.


5 minutes

My students start this lesson out on the carpet.  I tell my students to "Think about the words in the title of the scientist's job - marine biologists. Can you determine what this scientists does based on the job title or name?"


As our science lessons continue, I encourage my students build upon what they are learning.  If they are able to internalize the new information about science and the various types of scientists, I began to see growth.  My students start to use a scientific vocabulary.  In fact, they began to think like scientists. 


Using what they know, my students began to express their understanding of what a marine biologist does in the world of science.



10 minutes

The students view a video about marine biologist.  This lesson begins on the carpet.  After the video I asks questions about what we have seen.  For example, the marine biologists in the video told what skills are necessary for doing his job so I ask the students, "What practices do we use in the classroom that are like the marine biologists?"  The students share their answers with their shoulder partner.


I reiterate that the marine biologists listed writing, reading, mathematics, team work, and working on the computer as practices for his job.  I ask the students for a tumbs-up if their shoulder partner said one of the practices I lists.  Finally, I say "Why are these practices important?"  A few students are allow to share with the group.  Then we create an "Important Practices Chart" that will remain on the wall throughout the duration of the unit.


24 minutes


Now that the students know what a marine biologist does, they experience their job.  The students observe a beta fish, a baby octopus, a blue crab, and a crawl fish.  This is a minimal version of what a marine biologists does.  My students transition from the carpet to tables by teams.  The students have preassigned seats.


I call one table at a time to be seated with their hands in their laps.  All students are listening intently because any violation of this request causes them to return to the carpet.  I do this for the safety of everyone along with giving a reminder to NOT touch the bowls at ANY time.  Next I say, "You have Five minutes to observe at each station.  You must make TWO observation entries at each station in your science notebooks.  You may be chosen from your table to share with the class." 


Using an internet timer with a bell, I say "begin your observations."  Once the bell rings, I say, When I tell you to, "Stand up, push your chair under the table and get your pencils and science notebooks in your hand."  Then I specifically model how table 1 should move to table 2; table 2 moves to table 3; table 3 moves 4; and table 4 moves to table 1. This rotation continues counter clock-wise until all teams have been to each station.  Upon I completion, I call each table back to the carpet.




15 minutes


With the students on the carpet, I say, "Now that you have explored the work of a marine biologist, think about what you have learned?"


Then I say, "When I say begin, you have THREE minutes to review your science notebook, look for TWO things you have learned, and share with your partner.  You may be called on to share out. When you finished close your notebook."  I repeat the instructions two twice. I also call the students who need reinforcement to verbally walk through the steps with me.  This process ensures that everyone knows what do.  When the time is up, I selected one student from each table to shares their findings with the class.  While students share, I evaluate their understanding as well.


Finally, I read Ocean: A Photicular Book by Carol Kaufman which offers a more in-depth look at the underwater world and gives descriptions of things found in the sea, like coral reef and sea weed.  I review these words along with marine, ocean and sea after reading the book for reinforcement.





7 minutes


I ask students if they wonder or have additional questions about marine biologists or if they have ideas for additional investigations do be done in the future.


Finally, I say, "It is very possible that you can become a marine biologist in the future.  In fact, in your youth, you can begin to study the sea world by attending summer camps."   One camp to consider is Whale Camp at the Fundy Marine Science Institute in the Grand Manan Island.  A brief overview of the camp is share.