Ocean Floor Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students about the fascinating ocean floor with this lesson plan. They will study a text lesson, participate in three related activities, and take a follow-up quiz to check their comprehension.

Learning Objectives

After reviewing this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Describe the landscape of the vast ocean floor
  • Explain hydrothermal vents and chemosynthesis
  • Name some of the types of life found at great depths


1 - 1.5 Hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • Colored markers
  • Copies of the text lesson Ocean Floor: Definition & Features along with the accompanying lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Internet access, preferably with printing capabilities
  • Poster board, cut into half-sheets
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Strips of scrap paper for voting
  • Projector
  • Transparency containing Activity Three questions
    • Alternatively, create a worksheet to pass out to the six groups with the list of questions

Key Vocabulary

  • Chemosynthesis
  • Deepsea Challenger
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • Ocean floor
  • Photosynthesis
  • Scientific American
  • Sea creatures
  • Seamounts


  • Inform your students they will be studying the mysterious ocean floor.
  • Ask if anyone is familiar with the ocean floor and life forms there.
  • Review key vocabulary terms.
  • Pass out the Ocean Floor: Definition & Features text lesson.
  • Have a student volunteer read the introduction and the 'What Is the Ocean Floor?' section. Ask:
    • What is the ocean floor?
    • What would happen if you dived deep without protective equipment?
    • To what resolution has the ocean floor been mapped?
    • What can you see on this map?
  • Have another volunteer read the section 'Landscape of the Ocean Floor.'
    • What is the only submersible that can reach the ocean floor?
    • What is a seamount?
    • Are there underwater volcanoes?
    • To what are underwater cliffs connected?
    • Are there underwater trenches?
    • How do these underwater features compare to those on land?
  • Next read the section 'Life on the Ocean Floor.'
    • Is the majority of the ocean floor lifeless?
    • Can sunlight reach the bottom in the deepest parts?
    • What are some creatures that live at great depths?
  • Now read the section 'Deep Ocean Ecosystems.'
    • What type of ecosystem is a hydrothermal vent?
    • What is chemosynthesis? How does it differ from photosynthesis?
    • What are some animals that live near hydrothermal vents?
  • Lastly, read the 'Lesson Summary', recap the complete text lesson, and answer any pertinent student questions.
  • Have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their comprehension.

Activity One

  • Let your students know they are going to be drawing pictures of the blobfish. This creature lives thousands of feet below the surface and was at one time voted the 'World's Ugliest Animal.' However, some people think it is rather cute!
  • Divide your students up into pairs.
  • Hand out colored markers and one half-sheet of poster board for each pair.
  • Allow students to use the Internet to find photos of the blobfish.
  • Let students know that they can make this a realistic drawing or a cartoon-style drawing.
  • Finally, allow the pairs to share their creations with the entire class.

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