The world’s oceans have been a barrier to
humans for a long time. It has historically been looked at as a horrible
and fearful road into the unknown. The ocean seems to go on forever.
Children of today have to be reminded that early people did not have the
tools that we have at our disposal. Many men would go out to sea
and never return and so stories of a harsh and revengeful ocean would emerge.
In Roman (Neptune) and Greek (Poseidon) mythology, the god of the oceans,
was one of the most powerful.
Young children need to understand that the
oceans are just filling a depression on the Earth’s surface.
There are mountains and valleys underneath the oceans. The bottom
of the oceans is not just a smooth, curved surface. The world’s
oceans are all connected, so sometimes it is difficult to say where one
ocean begins and another ends. Oceanographers, or scientists that
study the oceans, use similar chemical characteristics to define the water
The four oceans that are easily distinguishable
are the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. The Antarctic Ocean
is really the southern tip of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. A
sea is a smaller body of salt water, with most cases, an outlet to a larger
marine body. A lake can be either fresh water (Lake Michigan) or
salt water (Great Salt Lake), but they all have not outlet to the ocean.
- An ocean is a large body of salt
water. A sea is just a small body of salt water. There are four
major ocean bodies that students will learn in this exercise. They are
the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Arctic Ocean. Some
maps include the southern oceans around Antarctica as a separate ocean, but in
this exercise we will only use four. Use the enclosed worksheets for
students to use to find the different oceans and color them.
- Students should be given inflatable
globes and world placemats, so they can locate the oceans in small groups.
Remind students that blue represents the oceans. Have them locate where
they live, then have them find the closest ocean. Then ask if anyone knows
of another ocean that they might have heard of or even visited.
- Try to have the children unfold the
different oceans instead of you telling them which one is which. You may
want to tell stories about each of the oceans. For example, Polar bears
live in the Arctic Ocean; Columbus sailed across the Atlantic; Hawaii is
in the Pacific. Any fact that your students may relate to. If any of
your children are from another country this might be a good time to discuss
where that country is.
- Also emphasize that organisms that
live in salt water are different than organisms that live in fresh
water. Also, many children do not understand that an island is part
of the Earth. They think it floats in the water.