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Monday, 20 April 2015

O is for OCEANS

If I asked you how many oceans there are in the world, what would you answer? Five?  And you could name them right? Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, Antarctic (also known as Southern)

Well, if you were in my 4th grade class when I was teaching about oceans, you would learn that all the oceans of the world flow into each other, thereby creating one ocean with five different bodies of water that are named as above.

Did you know that oceans cover about 70% of the Earth's surface and they contain roughly 97% of the Earth's water supply?
I really loved my Oceanography unit! The kids learned that the oceans of Earth serve many functions, especially affecting the weather and temperature. They learned how they moderate the Earth's temperature by absorbing incoming solar radiation (stored as heat energy). They also learned that the always-moving ocean currents distribute this heat energy around the globe by heating the land and air during winter and cooling it during summer.
I recall one activity we did whereby we created our own icebergs. We used zip-lock plastic bags and half filled them with blue-coloured water. We also made a mark with black felt at the water line. After a few days in the deep freezer, we brought them out to see if the water line had changed - it had. It seemed as though the water had expanded. Then we each dipped our iceberg in a huge vat of water to see what would happen. Did it sink? Did it float? How much of the iceberg was above the water line of the vat and how much was below? Using rulers, the kids measured and then we figured out the ratio of the visible iceberg to the invisible iceberg. Of course, that continued on to the story about the Titanic.

Another activity we did was when I divided the class into 5 groups, each group representing one of the oceans. Each group had a large tin foil pie plate into which they poured blue-coloured water. Then we added some oil, feathers, string, tooth picks and other small pieces of wood, bread bag tags, bits of clear plastic wrap, and other odds and sods of "garbage."

Then, I said to the groups, "Okay, now clean up your oceans!"

You should have seen those kids work like mad using all sorts of methods to get the oil and garbage out of their oceans.

It certainly proved a point.

And it was lots of fun, too.

I presented several videos about the oceans to the class and we also learned about the history of ocean exploration. It was one of my favourite Science units for many reasons, but one particular reason was that I took the class on a field trip to the Stanley Park Aquarium where they were treated to private viewings of the Beluga Whales, which were adorable, by the way.

Now, here's my question: Do you believe that Belugas should be in aquariums or should they be free to live in the oceans?  Why?



  1. What a wonderful post!The kids must have loved your class. Although Belugas look smiling due to their facial structure, they must be feeling miserable cooped up in an aquarium.

  2. A most interesting piece Leslie, your pupils must really have enjoyed your classes
    and particularly, going out on field trips.
    I don't think large sea creatures should be held in tanks considering now that we have such
    advanced technology at our fingertips.
    Our grandchildren have 3-D TV, where you have to wear
    special glasses when viewing particular programmes.
    The wild life video's are particularly realistic, we watched one that included a stampede of wild
    buffalo it made you feel as if you were in the middle of it, galloping along with the beasties.
    I got quite a shock and nearly jumped out of my skin when an enormous black gorilla appeared
    in the centre of the screen, for a split second I thought that it was in the room with us, much to
    the amusement of the children!!
    Silly Grandma!
    Love Di,
    ABCW team


  3. When I was growing up, there was no Southern Ocean! It was all parts of three of the other oceans.

  4. Leslie! What a wonderful teacher you are. I would have loved being in your 4th grade class.

  5. All animal should be free .....but more important safe !
    And because they're not.... and i fear never will be.... i think is a good thing to keep them in zoos aswell (under the most perfect possible conditions ofcourse) to educate childeren.... the grownups of the future... to safe all of them from extermination.

  6. Excellent post about the oceans! Such a creative lesson is wonderful and children will always remember that the oceans are neede for our lives. You are a fantastic teacher Leslie!
    I agree with Trubes that large sea creatures should not be held in tanks. I once went whale watching in the waters of New Zealand. That was quite an experience !
    Wil, ABCW

  7. What a great lesson on oceans and icebergs! I wish I had been your student!

  8. Belugas should be in the ocean. I do not think there physical set up or what ever it is called is for a limited space. I think all animals should not be in a cage just like sea creatures in an aquarium kind of sad. ^_^

  9. Wonderful post about oceans. I always loved teaching with hands on methods so the kids really got involved. Belugas should live in their natural environment, yet the way pollution is happening there probably won't be many left in the future.

  10. You are my kind of teacher, Leslie! As to your question about belugas, I believe its best for them to be in their natural habitat, but can see some limited occasions during which aquariums may be needed. Blessings!

  11. Oh is for Oh it's good!

    ALOHA from Honolulu,

  12. Wonderful lessons/experiments...Animals in exhibits do serve a purpose, so I am ok with safe zoos and aquariums♪

  13. Good subject. All animals (humans and other mammals must all be free), So aquariums shd not keep dolphins etc- neither shd anyone be fishing or killing anything in the sea, nor polluting it. Simple really.

  14. I wish I had a teacher like you when I was in school a long time ago. I may have appreciated science sooner and understood it better. Your post taught me things about the oceans. I would rather that the beluga whale was not captive, because it is an unnatural environment. From the quick read I made at Wikipedia just now, many have died in captivity.

  15. The whole idea of zoos and aquariums are changing - no-one questioned them before but now there's a definitely a movement towards free observation. Watching whales performing tricks for example is very disturbing.

  16. Leslie - Teaching was such a fulfilling experience, especially the sciences where kids could discover things for themselves with just a few hints to get their mental juices going. Now we are teaching through the Internet. You never stop teaching. - Margy

  17. Informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Do you still have an abc Wed team that visits and comments on people's ABC Wed posts?


    1. Janis - yes, there are people assigned, and they have the week to do so. I can tell you that I also go to virtually everyone's post, but given some deadlines, that may not happen until the weekend.

  19. It would be a big mistake to take a born captive sea mammal and to release it into the wild, that would like someone taking their pet dog and turning it loose into the wild and expecting it to survive on its own when the dog isn't able to do so for of it's independences on humans, this is also the same with born captive mammals, unless they are able to trained that mammal from day one the moment it has been born at how to survive in the wilds, born captive mammals should remain captive and born wild mammals should be left in the wilds and never forced into being caged.