Ocean Habitats

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Ocean Habitats

Discover the unique environment where the water meets the land that includes rocky and sandy shores, as well as tide pools, home to crabs, barnacles, and starfish. Demonstrates how tides and waves affect the other species that live on, in, and out of the water. Students discover the amazing living habitat of the reef. Includes

Discover the unique environment where the water meets the land that includes rocky and sandy shores and tide pools.

  1. Students will understand that a habitat is a place where plants and animals naturally live. A habitat provides food, water, and shelter.
  2. Students will know that the ocean habitat is the largest of all the habitats, the ocean covers about 70% of the earth. The ocean is also home to over 250,000 kinds of living things.
  3. Students will realize that the ocean contains minerals and elements which organisms require for their survival.
  4. Students will understand that temperature, pressure, water movement, availability of food, and water salinity are important characteristics that help define the different zones in the ocean.
  5. Students will realize that three sources of food (algae, plankton, and animals) exist in the sea.
  6. Students will know the characteristics of the shoreline and how plants and animals adapt to the changing conditions. The tides and the wind cause water to move against the shore; this movement can be dramatic and a person can easily observe it. There are two main types of shores, sandy shores and rocky shores.
    1. Few plants or algae live on sandy shores because the sand will not hold roots. Animals on the sandy shore are exposed, because there are no structures behind which they can hide. Many of these animals must burrow under the sand to avoid predators.
    2. The rise and fall of the tides against the rocks causes three zones to be created within the rocky shoreline. The high tide zone, which is high up on the rocky shore, becomes dry when there is a low tide. Animals that live in the high tide zone keep their bodies wet using shells or mucous to trap water. Also, many high tide zone animals have developed structures that allow their bodies to stay fastened to the rocks when waves crash against the rocks. The mid-tide zone has slightly more water than the high tide zone. Many animals migrate down to the mid-tide zone in order to hunt during low tide. The low tide zone, which is closest to the ocean, is the wettest of the tide zones and contains a lot of life during the low tide. Tide pools are also created during a low tide; many low tide zone animals can live in tide pools.
    3. All plants and animals that live on the shore must adapt to the changes in temperature and salinity that occur on the shoreline and must also be able to live in water as well as out of water.
  7. Students will know the characteristics of a reef and how organisms adapt to the conditions in the reef habitat. The bony skeletons of dead coral polyps build up the reef. In order for coral to live, the ocean water must be clean and very warm, about 68 degrees or higher. More kinds of life exist in and around reefs than in any other part of the ocean. Although reefs contain an abundance of food and many hiding places for ocean animals, a reef can be a very tough place in which to live, because there are many predators. Consequently, animals that live in reef zones have developed adaptations, like poisons, armor, and camouflage to stay safe. The colors and designs on the animals and plants in the reef zones mark feeding areas and attract mates.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. Have a Class Quiz. Ask students to tell where they think animals in the ocean live. (Near shore, on reefs, in the open water, and in the ocean depths). Ask the difference between shoreline and reef habitats. What kinds of animals live in each? Watch the video to find the answers.
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Shoreline and Reef Habitats Bulletin Boards: Using the video as a reference as well as books from the library, divide the class into committees to develop the two bulletin boards. Divide the committees into 1) background information, 2) artwork, 3) oral presentation. Each committee should have one good writer, one good reader, and one good artist. The background committee should read the references and report to the others on how the habitat looks, what plants and animals are found there, and anything special about the habitat. They should share any pictures that they found with the art committee. This group will lay out the board with sketches and draw and color the major animals. All members of the group can draw an animal for the bulletin board. The presentation committee decides how they will report the information to the other half of the class. They will base their report on the illustrations on the board and the gathered data.
    2. Reef Booklet: Review the second part of the video showing the reef habitat. Many striking animals are shown here, including the sea anemone, the clown fish, and the sea serpent. Have each student select his or her favorite creature and illustrate it on an 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of paper to be the cover of his or her book. Each student must gather information on the animal and write a report in the booklet. Share the booklets with the rest of the class.