Marie Curie Math & Science Center
Eric Fenninger
Laurel Plains Elementary, Group 8B
Grade 5 : Science

Part of a Collaborative Oceanography Unit/Curriculum Design constructed by:

Eric Fenninger (Science Section 2) - Laurel Plains Elementary
Bill Tortora (Science Section 1) - West Nyack Elementary
Florence O'Brien (Technology) - West Nyack Elementary
Kay Levinson (Math) - West Nyack Elementary
Terri Cafaro (Language Arts) - Laurel Plains Elementary

I. Commencement Content Standard

A. Standard 1 : Analysis, Inquiry and Design : Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry and engineering design as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

B. Standard 4: Science : Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

II. Benchmark Standards: Intermediate

Standard 1

  • The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.
  • Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.
  • The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed, using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.

Standard 4

  • Many of the phenomena that we observe on earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.
  • Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reactivity.
  • Energy and matter interact through forces that result in changes in motion.

III. Performance Standards

 Standard 1

  •  formulate questions independently with the aid of references appropriate for guiding the search for explanations of everyday observations
  • construct explanations independently for natural phenomena especially by proposing preliminary visual models of phenomena represent, present and defend their proposed explanations of everyday observations so they can be understood and assessed by others.
  • use conventional techniques and those of their own design to make further observations and refine their explanations guided by a need for more information
  • design charts, tables, graphs and other representations of observations to help them address their hypothesis
  • interpret the organized data to answer the research question or hypothesis and to gain insight into the problem
  • modify their personal understanding of phenomena based on evaluation of their hypothesis

Standard 4

  • explain how the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, interact, evolve, and distinguish between chemical and physical changes
  • describe different patterns of motion of objects.

 IV. Content Outcomes: Oceanography

Students will understand how oceans differ in depth along with the variety of features found on the ocean floor. Students will also learn how humans depend on the ocean for its resources and the negative effects of pollution on the environment.

 Students will know to

  • test a hypothesis
  • observe and collect data
  • interpret results
  • set up an experiment
  • use graphing to record results
  • take and apply recorded measurements
  • compare and contrast
  • apply the Scientific method in daily investigations
  • use the computer for word processing for results, charts and graphs
  • use the PowerPoint application
  • use Internet resources to locate and use information on oceanography
  • implement Kid Pix computer application
  • use CD-Rom Oceans Below

V. Performance Outcomes

     Students will create a model of the ocean floor; use recorded numbers to construct a graph; plot graph using Excel computer application. Students will draw and label picture of ocean floor using Kid Pix application. Students will use rubber ball to simulate effects of Sonar mapping; record measurements; create table of results using Microsoft. Students will design and construct a model of a "solar still"; test model to change salt water into fresh water; observe and taste results; use "Oceans Below" Cd-rom as reinforcement. Students will test and rate various homemade methods for cleaning up an oil spill; E-mail results to a professional in the field of Environmental Science. At the completion of the oceanography unit, students will use the PowerPoint computer application to create an Ocean animal presentation to be shared with the class.

VI. Enabling Activities

Activity # 1

A. Grouping : Students will work in heterogeneous groups of three, four.
B. Time: approximately two days.
C. Materials: 2 cans of "Playdough" per child, metric ruler, straws, clear plastic box, marker, tape, pencil, cardboard
D. Directions :
Teacher note : Students will create a model of the ocean floor. Students will use a "ruler" straw to measure and then graph their ocean bottom. Results will be graphed using the Excel computer application. Students will match up "own" drawing to computer graph.

Student steps:

1. Students will cut out cardboard top to create a plastic box lid.
2. On top of cardboard lid, make a mark every four cm in the middle of the cardboard.
3. Poke holes in marks through the cardboard lid. (Big enough for the straw to fit through.)
4. Take playdough and make an ocean bottom showing highs and lows.
5. Students can use KidPix to create "artistic" picture.
6. Tape lid onto the box.
7. Use the ruler to make marks every 1 cm.
8. Use the straw as a depth gauge and plot recordings on graph.
9. Take plotted points and create graph using Excel.
10. (Trading boxes with other groups and checking results)

 A. Questions :

1. What was your straw measuring when you graphed the ocean bottom?
2 . Why would it be important to know how deep the ocean is?
3. What are some other techniques you can use to map the ocean floor?
4. How did your computer graph look when compared to your original drawing?

F. Rubric Key: 1- Novice 2 - Apprentice 3 - Worker 4 - Expert

Students can create a graph of a model ocean bottom and cite reasons why mapping the ocean floor is important.

1 = An attempt was made to plot points on a graph and create ocean model.
2 = Model was made, but student was unable to create graph.
3 = Ocean floor model and computer graph were both created.
4 = Ocean floor model and computer graph were created along with student showing strong understanding of ocean floor mapping.

**To the Teacher: Students can draw picture of ocean bottom using Kidpix or Paint computer program. Parts of the ocean bottom, (ocean seamounts, continental shelf, etc) should be included as instruction in this lesson.

Activity # 2

A. Grouping Partners
B. Time: (1 day for lesson, 1 day to graph using Excel)
C. Materials Rubber ball, stopwatch or clock with a second hand.
D. Directions

Teacher note: Activity will demonstrate how sonar mapping is used to measure and map ocean depths.

 Steps for the Student :

1. With your partner, take turns dropping the ball from different heights.
2. After dropping the ball, record the time it takes for it to bounce back into your hand.
3. Record your results on the chart.

A. Questions

1 . At what height did the ball return to you first?
2. At what height did the ball take longest to return?
3. What can oceanographers use to record distances from the ocean bottom?

 F. Rubric Key: 1- Novice 2 - Apprentice 3 - Worker 4 - Expert

 Student can make association that bouncing of the ball and recording of time with relation to distance represents the process of sonar mapping used by oceanographers and scientists.

1 = Student has difficulty recording times using bouncing ball.
2 = Student can record times using bouncing ball.
3 = Student can record times, and understands activity as simulation of sonar mapping.
4 = Student fully understands how sonar mapping works to map the ocean floor.

Activity #3

A. Grouping: Cooperative grouping of 4 to 5 students.
B. Time: 2 days
C. Materials: bowl, salt, clay, rubber band, plastic spoon, clear plastic wrap, straw, clear plastic cup
D. Directions :

Teacher note: In this activity, students will be shown the process of desalination. (the removal of salt from ocean water) Students will create a "Solar Still" to see how evaporation and condensation can extract salt from ocean water.

Steps for the Student:

1. Take a small piece of clay and place at the bottom of the bowl.
2. Make a saltwater solution and pour into bowl to a depth of about 2 cm.
3. Place the small container on top of the clay in the center of the bowl of salt water.
4. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the large bowl. (The wrap should hang over, but not touch the salt water)
5. Put a small ball of clay on top of the plastic wrap and over the small container.
6. Place the container in a sunny spot for a couple of days. (Warmer weather days work better)
7. Use the straw to taste the water after a couple of days.

E. Questions :

1. Explain what happened under the plastic wrap. (You may want to think about the water cycle)
2. Why did the water in the small container taste different from the water in the large bowl?
3. How could we speed up this process of removing salt from water?

F. Rubric Key : 1- Novice 2 - Apprentice 3 - Worker 4 - Expert

Desalination is the removal of salt from ocean water to get fresh water. Students will understand that their "Solar Still" accomplishes this task.

1 = Student grasps basic idea that salt was removed from salt water.
2 = Student exhibits some understanding of the role of evaporation and condensation in the experiment.
3 = Student understands concept of the "Solar Still"
4 = Student fully understands the functioning of a desalination plant.

Activity #4

A. Grouping:: Cooperative Grouping of four to five.
B. Time : 2 class periods. (1 day to perform, 1 to discuss results)
C. Materials : Used motor oil, white basins, string and straws, paper towel, kaolin (Diatomaceous earth), newspapers, Wisk/detergent, styrofoam pieces, twigs, fish net, spoons, garbage bags
D. Directions

    Teacher note: This activity attempts to cleanup an open ocean oil spill created in a basin of water. Used motor oil is used for the experiment and can be disposed of at any local gas station. Newspapers are a needed requirement to place on top of desks or tables. Plastic gloves should be worn and disposed of in plastic bags. Plastic garbage bags should be placed on top of desks and tables. Prior instruction can introduce the types of oil spill cleanup methods used by the E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) (containment, coagulation, skimming, absorbents, dispersing, etc.) Students will "matchup" their techniques with those used by professionals. They will also 94 rate" on a scale of 1-5, the most effective technique used. Results can be E- mailed to a professional in the area of Environmental Science.

Student Steps :

1. Put on all smocks and plastic gloves.
2. Have materials "chart" handy and ready.
3. Pour oil carefully into basin of water. (Observe what happens)
4. Using materials chart, individually test cleanup methods. (All disposable items should be placed in garbage bag on desk.)
5. Discuss observations with group.
6. Cleanup
7. Rate cleanup methods from 1 - 5. (5 = most effective. I= least effective)

E. Questions : (See attached lab)

(Note: The library media specialist is teaching and assisting in all computer activities and PowerPoint presentation)

Activity #5

Note: Activities planned in this part of the Oceanography unit are scheduled for a two week period. (10 days). During this time, students will also be working on completion of PowerPoint presentation which is incorporated as part of this unit.


Science Oceanography Technology Project Class

Assignment: Using the PowerPoint application in the Laurel Plains computer lab, create a 5 slide presentation on your choice of Ocean creature. Work will be produced with an assigned partner and research time will be given during class. Research may be done via the internet, CD-rom encyclopedia, library, magazines and any other reliable source. The following is a suggested list of ideas for the slides in your presentation :

Slide One : General description of the animal and the 'why' behind your reason for selecting the creature. This can include a picture of your animal and an introduction to the project. Voice and sound may be added as part of the introduction.

Slide Two A detailed description of the 'habitat of your animal. This slide can include information on where your animal may be found, in what type of waters, and if any special ocean structures influence your animal's habitat. Once again, any and all pictures are a plus.

Slide Three: Slide three focuses on the diet of your animal. What food does it eat? How does it eat? Are there any special features that help this animal eat? What is the role of your animal in the ocean food chain?

Slide Four: In slide four, explain how your animal moves throughout the ocean. Do changes in currents and tides affect your creature? Does your sea creature move within a school, does it migrate, or does it need to follow its food source?

Slide Five: This final slide will ask you to write about any of the special characteristics your animal may possess. For example, the squid can release ink into the water to provide a means of escape.

Suggestion List for Ocean Animal PowerPoint Presentation

Sting Ray
Manta Ray
Trigger fish
Sea anemone
Sea coral
Queen angelfish
Clown fish
Porcupine sea urchin
Jellyfish (Box, Portuguese Man-O-War)
Rainbow parrot fish
Octopus, cuttlefish, squid
Cone snail
Pineapple Fish
Gulper Fish

Multimedia Presentation Rubric

Score 1 2 3 4 5
Presentation Overall Project is interesting and flows well. A real eye catcher Project flows well and is interesting Majority of project flows well and has some interesting parts Majority of project is disjointed and level of interest is little Project does not flow at all, is poorly presented, and has no interest
Text Information All information used is accurate and well written. Good grammar and punctuation are used Majority if text is well written and information is accurate. Good grammar and punctuation are used Uses an acceptable amount of text. Information, grammar and punctuation are acceptable Text information short and somewhat inaccurate. Improper use of grammar and punctuation Text information, grammar and punctuation are missing or totally incorrect
Imagery Images are used to enhance the information and support the text. Placement of images is pleasing to the eye Images are used to enhance the information and support text. Placement of images is appropriate Images have used relevance to information and support text. Placement of images is acceptable Images used have little relevance to information. Not enough images are used. No graphic or scanned images are used


Oil Spill Cleanup Activity

1. Why are we performing this experiment? What are we trying to discover?

2. What do you think will be the most effective cleanup method?

3. List any and all materials used in the experiment.

4. How was the experiment set up? (Explain in detail)

5. Observations

Our Method What Happened? Rating as to effectiveness
1. Use of string and straws    
2. Paper Towel    
3. Fish Net    
4. Diatomaceous Earth (Kaolin)    
5. Palmolive/Wisk    
6. Styrofoam    

6. a. Which method appeared to work best? Why?

b. Would the same method work for every spill What are some reasons why it wouldn't?

c. Can all of these methods work together to cleanup an oil spill? Why or why not?



St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill NY 10976-1050