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SWBAT research and develop a submarine design that is engineered to dive to the deepest depths of the ocean.

Big Idea

After completing the ocean lessons, students can put their engineering skills to the test. Students will research and design a submersible to research the ocean floor.

What We Know

5 minutes

Students are going to need to review what we know about the zones that are found in the ocean. To do this they can use their science journals or their colored chart that they had created in previous lessons. We go over that the differences between the zones is the amount of sunlight they receive, the depth it is located, and the water pressure. I want them to recall what life is found in these areas and what we know from previous research about these zones.

I then ask the class how do scientists, also known as oceanographers, research the ocean when they can not dive safely due to the pressure there. It doesn't take long before a student says submarine. I explain that a submarine is what we call a submersible. Some submersibles do not hold people but they do hold cameras and other technology.

To explain the objective today, I start by telling the class that they are going to be placed in teams of three. There are going to be two main parts to the activity. First, the groups are going to choose an ocean zone that they want to explore and do research on. Then, they will need to use the iPads to research the type of submersibles that are used to research their chosen zones. Students will all create notes and draw examples of what they look like and try to find reasons the submersible is designed that way. I am saving the last step for after the research portion is complete.  


20 minutes

Students are put into teams of three by me choosing Popsicle sticks from a name jar. Students will each get an iPad to research. To make it easy, I have students come get there iPad and a piece of paper to collect their notes on. 

Once the materials are passed out, I suggest a method for collecting their notes. I ask the class to fold their paper in half "hot dog" style or vertically. On one side of the fold they can use this for writing notes and on the other than can draw pictures of what the submersible looks like that has already been designed. I remind them that their notes are going to be important and pictures could help a lot. I also remind them that they are only going to get twenty minutes for their research and so they need to work hard. 


20 minutes

When the time expires, I give the groups a few minutes to finish up their notes and I then collect iPads. I give the groups a few minutes to discuss their research and what they found out about the submersible that is used to explore that area. As they discuss, I walk around and ask the groups probing questions about their drawings. I want to see if any of the designs had a particular purpose. 

After the discussion, I have the groups choose a materials specialist. I have placed, into small baskets, a variety of random materials that students will be given to try to build their own submersible from. I hand out a blank piece of paper and ask the groups to first design together a submersible for researching their chosen zone. With their design, they need to add a few sentences that describe why they chose it to look the way it does. I encourage them to reference their notes and make sure that what they design be somewhat similar to what they researched.

This portion of the lesson might need to be completed on a subsequent day. I would also like to give the groups time to present their finished project.