With water being our focus, students can begin to understand how important water is to other ecosystems like those found in the various ocean layers. I ask the class to take out their science journal or they can take notes on a regular piece of paper. I have the class divide their paper into four squares. In each square they will put notes in a different way.
The ocean is the least explored and complex of Earth's ecosystems. In the first square I ask the class to draw the following landforms: canyons, mountains, trench, volcanoes, and valleys. I give them some to draw and write the words onto the white board. When they are about finished, I explain that all of these things are found under the ocean.
In the second square students will draw a sun. I then ask them to draw a line about a quarter way across it. This is to represent the amount of sunlight that penetrates the ocean surface. Students then will shade below the line to show that the bottom of the ocean gets quite dark.
Within the third box students will draw a plant and fish. I ask if any students know how a plant and a fish could be related. The primary answer I get is that fish eat plants. I then ask if any of them have heard of photosynthesis and some remember it. I talk about the process as being how plants convert sunlight to energy. The relationship is that animals that live deep within the ocean convert chemicals in a similar way to how plants convert sunlight.
The last box is for them to fill out the names of five of the life zones found under the ocean. They are: Sunlit Zone, Twilight Zone, Dark Zone, Abyssal Zone, and the Trenches.
Students are going to create a rainbow type chart to represent the different ocean zones. They will take a blank piece of white paper and fold it into fifths "hamburger" style or horizontal. They will then trace over their folds so they have five sections. Students will then turn their paper so that their layers are up and down. They will fill in each section with bulleted notes about each zone. When they finish writing their notes, students can color over the top lightly with specific colors to help them visually. The Ocean Zones.doc includes each zone and the color I chose to help them visually.