Ocean Life Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teach students what a biome is and the plants and animals that live in an ocean biome. Practice reading comprehension skills, then apply knowledge with a hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain what a biome is
  • describe life in the oceans of the world
  • demonstrate understanding of the ocean biome zones by completing activity


  • 50 minutes


Key Vocabulary

  • Biome
  • Ocean biome
  • Bioluminescence

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.


  • Connect students to learning and engage with content by showing them a few images of oceanic animals and asking them to determine which lives closer or further from the surface.
  • Discuss answers and tell students they will be learning about life in the ocean. Share prior knowledge, then pass out the lesson Ocean Biome Facts: Lesson for Kids or prepare to read with a shared reading device.
  • Together with students read the 'What is a Biome?' section
  • Define 'biome' and 'ocean biome' on the board, have students transfer to science notebooks, then discuss:
    • What is an example of a biome?
    • Do we have biomes near us?
    • Why do biomes occur in different places?
  • Read the next section, 'Oceans,' with students. Show them where oceans are located on a map. Discuss:
    • What are the two types of watery biomes?
    • Describe the size of the ocean biome.
    • What type of animals live in an ocean biome?
  • Ask students to create a three-column chart in their notebooks in preparation for upcoming reading.
  • Now read the next sections 'Zones of the Ocean Biome,' 'The Sunlit Zone, 'The Twilight Zone,' and 'The Midnight Zone,' having students record information in columns as they do so. You may consider guiding them with a chart on the board if necessary.
  • Ask:
    • What are the three oceanic zones?
    • Which zone has the most life? Why?
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner, describing the three zones using descriptive adjectives.
  • Finally, read the Lesson Summary together and answer any remaining questions.

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