Bioluminescence – and Ocean Zones: Ocean Unit Activities

In this part of our unit we talked about the ocean zones and spent quite a bit of time talking about the creatures that live in these different zones.  Some organisms spend the day in the darker zones and then travel up into the upper zone at night to feed.

We also talked about bioluminescence in quite a bit of detail. We found it fascinating that because there are so many organisms that dwell in the ocean (in comparison to those that dwell on land), more creatures use light (bioluminescence) to communicate than use sound (including ALL human languages)!  Depending on how you count it nearly 80% of animals in the open waters emit light (not including animals that dwell on the ocean bottom).

We talked about the main reasons why (sea) creatures have bioluminescence:

  1. counter-illumination
  2. defense
  3. warning
  4. attracting prey
  5. attracting a mate

These will be available next week when we release our 100+ page Ocean Unit Packet!

Bioluminescence-WorksheetsAs I mentioned in previous posts, we learned a *ton* from the Blue Planet (affiliate link – available on DVD and Amazon streaming), an amazing documentary about the history of the world’s oceans and ocean life.  We watched all 8 episodes and the kids absolutely *loved* the series!!

The Blue Planet

We also watched a couple of different videos on youtube for this portion of our unit. This PBS Nova documentary: Creatures of Light

and the National Geographic video: Amazing Creatures and Fish of the Deep Ocean

This video was interesting because it talked about the history of underwater exploration from Alexander the Great using an inverted glass jar to explore the Mediterranean and open bottom diving bells to the spherical submersible, the bathysphere, that explored undersea wildlife in 1934 and the submersible, Trieste,  that went 11 kilometers deep in 1960.

We also talked about the Ocean Zones.

We did an activity to sort various ocean animals into the different zones.

We talked about how some animals spend their days in the midnight zone, but make their way up to the sunlight zone at night to feed. Viperfish, for example, stay between 250 to 5,000 feet during the day and rise at night to feed.  Lanternfish are  also known for their vertical migration.

Layers-of-the-Ocean-ActivitiesAnd we also talked about some of the exploration down into the ocean depths.

Ocean-Unit-ActivitiesNext week, I’ll share the last few activities we did as we wrapped up our unit and will finally be ready to share our Ocean Packet! … Update, you’ll find our Ocean Unit here. Ocean-Unit-100 Pages Marine-Habitats-Ocean-Currents-Tides-BioluminescenceMarine-Habitat-Worksheets-CardsCorals and Coral Reefs Worksheets - Notebook Pages and Lapbook ActivityOcean Unit - Water Form Words Worksheet

Features of the Ocean Floor WorksheetsWhat-causes-tides-spring-neap-tides-and-phases-of-the-moon-worksheetsOcean-Unit-Salinity-Activities

You may be interested in our other Ocean Unit Posts:

If you have younger kids you may be interested in the ocean activities we did when they were preschool and early elementary age:


Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page. Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

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