Lesson plan

Diving into Earth's Oceans

Get your students excited about geography with a lesson on Earth's oceans. After reading two different texts, they'll be ready to dive right into ocean paragraph writing.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to identify Earth's oceans and distinguishing facts about each one.
  • Students will be able to integrate information from two different sources in order to write a paragraph about an ocean they would like to explore.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be diving into learning about Earth's oceans and considering features of a strong paragraph.
  • Draw a KWL chart (on the board or chart paper,) and remind students that this is a way to organize their learning. We can record what we know (K), what we want to know (W), and what we've learned (L).
  • Ask students what they already know about oceans. Record this information in the K column. (Tip: Remind students that complete sentences are not needed on the chart. Notes and phrases are fine here, but if they were writing paragraphs these details would require complete sentences.)
  • Ask students what they want to know about Earth's oceans. Record these questions in the W column.
  • Ask students where they could find information to these questions. Be sure that maps, globes, books, and reputable websites are mentioned.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out the World Oceans worksheet, and tell students that this will give them an introduction to Earth's five oceans.
  • Read the first paragraph, Arctic, out loud. As you are reading, pause to reread some of the facts from the first paragraph. Think aloud by telling students your thoughts about the text as you read. (For example, mention that you're rereading the fact that the Arctic Ocean has the lowest salinity because you didn't know that already.)
  • Record this information in the L column. Use the information from the text, "It surrounds the North Pole," to find the Arctic Ocean on the world map (or globe).
  • Remind students that solid paragraphs contain a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence.
  • Model rereading the Arctic paragraph aloud, but this time with a focus to determine if any parts of a strong paragraph are missing.
  • Think aloud that you notice that a topic sentence and/or a concluding sentence are missing. Model coming up with your own. (Example: The Arctic Ocean is one of the major bodies of water on Earth.)
(15 minutes)
  • Repeat the steps from the Teacher Modeling section for the remaining four oceans. Allow students to read aloud, share the information they learn, and record the facts on the KWL Chart.
  • Hand out the Asking Questions: KWL Chart worksheet to each student, and ask them to record what they know (K) and what they want to know (W) about oceans.
  • Distribute your students' geography textbooks or other books on oceans for students to read and analyze information for their KWL chart.
  • Have students read select text and record facts and information they learn on their worksheet in the L column.
  • As students read and record facts, walk around the room and check their KWL charts for facts in their L column.
  • Bring students back together and ask for examples of what they learned.
  • Ask students which ocean, in their opinion, might be the most dangerous.
  • Choose one of the oceans you hear and create a topic sentence. For example, "This student believes that the Atlantic Ocean is the most dangerous ocean on Earth." Write this down for referencing.
  • Have students provide details that support the topic sentence from both resources in complete sentences. Add these sentences for referencing later.
  • Repeat the procedure for a concluding sentence to complete the paragraph for further referencing.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell students that they are going to write an opinion paragraph about an ocean they'd like to explore. Their paragraph must integrate facts and details from both the World Oceans worksheet and their geography book (or other text). Remind students to include a topic sentence, detail sentences, a concluding sentence, and that they may reference the previously modeled paragraph.
  • Ask students, in their opinion, which ocean would be the most interesting to explore. Encourage students to give details about why that ocean is interesting.
  • Hand out lined paper (or allow students to write in their writing journal) and have students get started.
  • Circulate and check in with students, using guiding questions as needed.
  • Instruct early finishers to complete page two of the World Oceans worksheet.


  • Assist students that need help getting started by having them tell you which ocean they want to explore and give you one fact about it.
  • Assign complimentary academic partners, so that students needing extra support are paired with a more capable student.
  • Provide sentence frames in paragraph format to struggling writers. (For example, "I would like to explore ____. The first reason that I'm interested in this ocean is because ____. Also, this ocean is/has ____. I like the fact that this ocean ____. In conclusion, ____.")


  • Challenge students by asking them to integrate information from a third resource as they write their paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Present several true/false statements to students, and ask them to raise one finger if the statement is true or two fingers if the statement is false. Some examples might include:
    • The east coast of the United States borders the Pacific Ocean. (false)
    • There are four oceans on Earth. (false)
    • The Atlantic Ocean is getting bigger. (true)
    • The Southern Ocean has North America and Europe as its borders. (false)
  • Read the student paragraphs to assess the students' understanding of the ocean by the details and facts they included. Also, assess their ability to integrate information from two different texts.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about how their paragraph would have turned out if they were only allowed to use information from one text.
  • Call on students willing to share an answer to the question.
  • Reinforce the fact that sometimes we need to read several different sources in order to gain more information or get a better understanding of a topic.
  • Ask for examples from the students' lives where they need to use more than one source of information. (For example, some children use the newspaper to get NBA team standings, but they also read Sports Illustrated for Kids to get more information about the teams and the players.)

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items