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Disciplinary Unit Lesson 3

I. General Information:

Grade Level: 2nd grade

Discipline: Science

Unit Topic: Animal Habitats

Time Frame: two 50 minute class

Text: The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole & Bruce

Other Materials: empty water bottles, sand, colored rocks, water, ocean
animal stickers

YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjZR3S9-IVI

II. Essential Understand/Questions:

Why are coral reefs important?

What plants and animals live in the ocean?

What does the ocean look like below the surface?

III. Standards/Indicators:


F. Ecology


1. Explain that organisms can grow and survive in many very different

1 Investigate a variety of familiar and unfamiliar habitats and describe how

animals and plants found there maintain their lives and survive to reproduce.
2 Explain that organisms live in habitats that provide their basic needs
o Food
o Water
o Air
o Shelter


Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to
demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.


Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific
paragraphs within the text.


Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.


Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and
definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.


Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources

to answer a question.

IV. Lesson Objectives:

Students will be able to identify plants and animals that live in the ocean.

Students will be able to explain what coral reefs are and why they are important.

Students will be able to explain the characteristics of the ocean (as a habitat).
V. Evaluation/Assessments:

Students will record facts about the ocean in their habitat journals, which
will be collected and graded at the end of the unit.
Students will be informally assessed during reading of the text through
questions that gauge students comprehension of the text and understanding
of the information.

VI. Procedures:


Day 1:

The teacher will ask students, Who has ever been to the beach? and a brief
discussion will be had about what students have seen at the beach.
Students will open a new page in their habitat journals and draw a picture of
what they think of when they hear the words beach and ocean.

Day 2:

The teacher will review with students the concept of coral reefs from the
previous days lesson.
The teacher should ask questions such as:
o What are coral reefs?
o Why are they important to oceans?
o Are coral reefs living? How do you know?


Day 1:

Students will watch a short YouTube video about the ocean.

After the video, students will be asked to draw a picture (on the back of their
earlier drawing) of what the ocean actually looks like under the surface.
Students will also be asked to label their drawing.
Students will move to the reading carpet once they have finished their
drawing. Once all students are finished drawing, the teacher will introduce
the text The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole & Bruce
The teacher will ask students, Does anyone know what coral reefs are?
This will prompt a discussion where students attempt to answer the question.
After the discussion, the teacher will read the book to students, stopping
periodically to ask questions to engage students in the reading. The
questions should be similar to the following:
o Why do you think ____ is important to ocean habitats?
o What happened here? What do you think may happen next?
At the conclusion of the story, the teacher will take a picture walk through
the text and have students help summarize what happened in the story.

Day 2:

Students will be randomly sorted into groups. Each group will be given a
copy of The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole & Bruce
Students will work together in their group to write a paragraph about coral
reefs. The prompt students are answering will be, Describe what coral reefs
are and why they are important to the ocean.
Working in their group, students will use the text and existing knowledge to
answer the writing prompt. Students in a group may write the same thing,
but each student needs to complete their own paragraph.
As students are finishing their group work, the teacher will walk around the
classroom and place a bowl of sand, a bowl of colored pebbles, and in the
center of each group.
When students are finished and have returned to their assigned seats, they
will be asked to get their empty water bottles.
The teacher will explain that students are going to make their own ocean
inside their water bottles. The teacher will also show an example for students
to see.
Students must follow directions and make their ocean one step at a time in
order to avoid messes. The first step is to take a funnel and pour a small
amount of sand into the water bottles. This represents the bottom of the
Next, students can place colored pebbles into their water bottles. This is
meant to represent coral reefs and other rocks that may be at the bottom of
the ocean.
The next step must be done by the teacher! Students will come up by
tables/groups to get their water bottles filled with water. The teacher will
also tape the lid on, so students do not open the water bottle and make a
Once a students water bottle has been filled, they are to return to their seats
and use the ocean animal stickers to decorate the outside of their water


Day 1:

Students should return to their seats and complete an exit ticket for the day.
The exit ticket will be using the 3-2-1 strategy. Students will write 3 things
they learned from the days lesson, 2 things they want to learn more about,
and 1 question they still have about oceans or coral reefs.

Day 2:

At the conclusion of this lesson, the teacher will prompt students to discuss
what each layer of their water bottle represents. Students should say that the
sand represents the bottom of the ocean, the pebbles/rocks are coral reefs
and other debris at the bottom of the ocean, and the water is the oceans salt

Cole, J. & Degen, B. 1992. The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor. Scholastic
Inc. New York, NY.

The Lawrence Hall of Science. 2014 January 6. Open Ocean Habitats: Surface
and Deep for OSS 3-5, Clip #7 for Session 2. [Video File] Retrieved from: