Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#1716. Aquatic Organisms

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Apr 25 10:06:11 PDT 2000 by Brad Dubetsky (
sample lesson plan
IUP, Indiana, USA
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Identifying characteristics among fresh and salt water organisms


This is a sample lesson plan that I created with the purpose of teaching 3rd-5th graders the many characteristics of aquatic organisms. This lesson plan is structured in a manner to introduce new salt water organisms to the students. It then gives the students a chance to compare and contrast the many characteristics of fresh water organisms and salt water organisms. The students will be given the opportunity to enrich their knowledge about the different species of aquatic organisms in our world. They should have fun doing it too. This lesson involves activities that include a one day field trip to an aquatic environment, creating a poster board of the children's' favorite underwater organisms, and the opportunity to expand their knowledge about their "creature" by way of internet explorer, reference books, and encyclopedias. If there are any comments or questions about the lesson plan, please contact me byemail or byphone.


Standard Introduction Instructional Objective Lesson Initiation
Instructional Activities Lesson Summary Lesson Evaluation


Standard: 3rd-5th graders, dealing with Earth Science: On this planet there are many different species of organisms that live underwater. Some of these organisms live in the deep sea, some may live in creeks and rivers, and some live in shallow dams. Identifying these living creatures can sometimes be difficult.
Introduction: Distinguishing a salt water organism from a fresh water organism can be a difficult task. It is important to introduce students to these underwater creatures at an early age. All children should expand their horizons and learn the facts and details about the different organisms that we share our planet with.

Instructional Objective: Using magic markers, colored pencils, or crayons and white poster board and directions to use pictures, students will describe five characteristics of a salt water organism. Then they will compare and contrast those characteristics with five characteristics of a fresh water organism with 100%

Lesson Initiation: Have the students view a taped movie or show from either "National Geographic" or the "Discovery Channel." Make sure that the movie or show presented to the students contains various facts, details, and scenes about both, fresh water and salt water environments.

Instructional Activities:
Materials- Net, jar, notebook, pencil, colored pencils, poster board, computer,
encyclopedia, dictionary, clay

Exploration: Take the students on a field trip to the nearest aquatic environment. An ideal situations would be for the students to explore the scenery of both aquatic environments. Each student may use a net or a jar to capture and look over their favorite organisms. Have students make a mental note on what they see and observe during the trip.
Explanation: When returning to the classroom setting, divide the class into groups of three to five students. Assign a different organism to each group. Give each group a pasteboard and colored pencils. Have the students state facts and details about an organism that they observed on their field trip. Make sure that the organisms assigned to the groups are those that were looked at more thoroughly by the class during the field trip. Have students create a brief illustration of their organism on their poster board.
Expansion: Using the same groups, have students do further research on their "creature" by way of internet explorer, encyclopedia, dictionary, or reference books from the school library. After all research is complete let the students develop a model. Ask the students various questions about their research. Ask them what the organism eats. What temperatures does it prefer?

Lesson Summary: Review the main characteristics of what separates a salt water organism from a fresh water organism.

Lesson Evaluation: Did the students correctly compare and contrast the main aspects of fresh and sea water organisms?

Scoring Rubric:

Correctly compared the similar characteristics of a
fresh water organism and a salt water organism. = 0-10 points

Accurately contrasted the major difference in the
characteristics of a fresh water organism and a salt
water organism. = 0-10 points

Did a good job of researching accurate information
on the class field trip and kept on task. = 0-7 points

Cooperated in group work and contributed to poster
board activity. = 0-7 points

Stayed on task when expanding knowledge by way of
the internet, reference books, or encyclopedias. = 0-6 points

Total = /40 points