Undersea Creatures Curriculum

-Objectives: Teach students about the eight planets of our solar system while teaching math concepts, new English vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, and developing social skills.


· Introduce the Undersea world to students. Teach them how to name and identify undersea creatures: octopus, jellyfish, dolphin, shark, crab, lobster, puffer fish.

· English names for Colours

· Naming, Identifying, and Drawing Shapes.

· Math Lessons: Learning numbers in Shapes, Addition and Subtraction.

· Social Skill Lesson: Emotions, learning how empathize with someone else (understand what they are feeling and be sympathetic)

-Books to Use:

How Deep is the Sea? By Anna Milbourne

The Octopus’s Garden: Secret World Under the Sea by Dr. Mark Norman (includes supplemental DVD)

Teeth, Tails, and Tentacles: An Animal Counting Book by Christopher Wormell

Where is the Star? A book of Shapes from Ghana by Kathy Knowles

Week 1:


· Introduce Undersea Creatures: octopus, jellyfish, dolphin, shark, crab, lobster, puffer fish.

· Begin learning English names of creatures, and identifying their features.

· Colours

· Introduce students to the Undersea Environment: Water and waves, sand on the ocean floor.

· Math Lessons focused on shapes.

Potential Activities:

1. Show students pictures of the different undersea creatures we will be studying. Most of these creatures will be very unfamiliar, so watching the DVD from The Octopus’s Garden book or having visuals will be very important.

2. Practice describing the animals by naming their colours. Begin by learning only a few colours at a time, and add more the next day or once students have mastery of naming and recognizing the first colours.

Example: Lobster. The lobster is red.

3. Reinforce learning to identify the undersea creatures while also teaching shapes and shape names. Show the students how to simply draw each creature by using a basic shape. They can practice on the blackboard or on slates.

Example: An octopus:

First, draw a large circle for the

octopus’s body:

Next, add a smaller circle on top of the large circle (the

octopus’s head), and draw two eyes:

Third, draw eight skinny rectangles off of the large circle, for the octopus’s tentacles:

4. Water Activity: Help students understand the environment that the undersea creatures live in. Fill a large bucket with water, and explain that these animals live in water. Ask them why we (humans) don’t live in water? Explain that we can only stay underwater for a few seconds before having to come up for air, but these animals can breathe underneath the water. Allow students to touch the water, and explain that the movements they create in the water are called “waves.”

5. Draw a picture on the board using coloured chalk to show what the ocean floor looks like (can also be shown to students using the books). There is a layer of sand (yellow chalk), and then some plants called “seaweed” (green chalk) and “coral” (red and orange and yellow chalk) on the “ocean floor.” This is where the undersea creatures live.

Week 2:


· Continue teaching undersea creature names.

· Add vocabulary for the specific features of the creatures.

· Teach the students how the creatures move in their Environment.

· Continue reinforcing the learning of shapes.

· Math Lessons in Addition.

Potential Activities:

1. Undersea Creature Features: All of these undersea creatures have new looking features compared to land animals. Identify and teach vocabulary for these features, explaining how they help the creature live in their undersea environment. (Reference Fact Sheet for specific features for each animal).

2. Progressing from Activity 1, reinforce the names of these new features/creature parts by pointing to a feature in a picture and asking the students to tell you the name.

3. Progressing from Activity 2, reinforce the name for these new parts by having the students move like each animal.


Students can use their arms to be fins for the dolphin, shark, and a fish. They can blow up their cheeks to be a puffer fish, and wiggle their hands on the sides of their face. (Reference the Fact Sheet for specific movements to mimic for each undersea creature).

4. Draw an undersea scene on the board and use this to teach reinforce addition concepts. Students can add schools of fish, coral reefs, seaweed plants, or certain undersea creatures.

5. Use shapes to practice addition. Example: If we have two squares, how many sides are there total between them? Shapes can be coloured with chalk on the board, to reinforce colour names.

6. Progressing from Activity 5, students can practice drawing the animals with the basic shape method (Activity 3 in Week 1), and then add the total shapes, or add to find the total lines that it takes to draw the creature.

Week 3:


· Continue reinforcing undersea creature names and identification.

· Social Skill activities: Emotions and empathy.

· Math Lessons in Subtraction.

Potential Activities:

1. Social Skill Activity: Learning about emotions. The teacher can tell different stories about the undersea creatures, and ask the students how they would feel if they were that creature.


Part 1- Kwasi the fist was swimming with his school of fish when he became distracted by something moving from behind a coral reef. He swam over to see what it was, but could not find anything. When he turned back towards where his school of fish had been swimming, he realized they were nowhere in sight! Oh no! Kwasi was all by himself! How do you think he felt?

Part 2- Kwasi didn’t know what to do. What would you do? He decided to try and find the school of fish by himself. All of a sudden, he swam head first into a dolphin. How do you think he felt when he swam head first into the dolphin?

Part 3- Luckily, the dolphin, named Abina, was very kind. She told Kwasi she had just seen his school of fish swim by, and she offered to take him to them. Fatwau held onto her fin and they swam very fast. How do you think Kwasi felt now?

Part 4- When the teacher fish saw Kwasi and Abina she was very happy. She swam to Kwasi and said “We had no idea what happened to you! I can’t believe you swam away from our group! You should know not to swim away from the school of fish!” How do you think Kwasi felt? What would you say to your teacher? (Apologize for swimming away from the group)

Part 5- Kwasi apologized to his teacher, and she accepted his apology. Kwasi promised to never swim away from the group again. The teacher smiled and told him to go play with his other fish friends. How do you think Kwasi felt now?

2. Play a guessing game so students can continue to work to mimic and identify undersea creatures. One student will come to the front of the class and act out the movement of a creature that they learned in Week 2. The rest of the class has to guess what creature they are, using the English name.

3. Many activities used last week for Addition can be repeated for Subtraction. Be sure to emphasize the difference between Addition and Subtraction.

4. Activity to emphasize the difference between Addition and Subtraction: Split the class into “schools of fish.” Practice Addition by “adding” different schools together to make a larger school of fish. Practice Subtraction by taking fish away from the school of fish. Having the students move will reinforce the difference between Addition and Subtraction.

5. Addition and Subtraction Game: This game is called “Shark.” One student is the Shark and all of the other students are in a school of fish. The Shark “eats” the fish by tagging them. The teacher should instruct the shark to eat a certain number of “fish.” When the Shark eats (or tags) a “fish,” the fish should stand in a designated area, which called the shark’s “stomach”. Next, the teacher should have the class count how many fish are in the shark’s “stomach” and should ask the shark to “add” enough fish the have a higher number. Example: “The has eaten 4 fish, how many fish should he/she eat to have 8 fish in his belly?” The shark should then eat 4 more fish, and the class can count to make sure there are 8 fish total in his stomach.

For Subtraction, the teacher can instruct the fish to “escape” and move out of the shark’s “stomach.”

Week 4:


  • Review topics learned the past three weeks. Use the first three days of the week to gauge what topics need to be reinforced on the last two days of the week.

Potential Activities:

  • Select one to three activities from each week. On Monday review the activities from Week 1. Tuesday review activities from Week 2. Wednesday review activities from Week 3. On Thursday and Friday focus on topics that students struggled with the most with on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Undersea Creatures Fact Sheet

- Undersea creatures live in the Ocean. Many of them swim around the ocean, while some swim and then live on the ocean floor.

The Octopus

The octopus has a large head and eight long legs or tentacles. Each tentacle has small suction cups on the underside, so the octopus and glide in the water and catch prey to eat. These octopus legs are very strong.

To move like an octopus students can move their arms at their sides with a very smooth and loose motion, bending at the elbows and wrists.

The Jellyfish

The Jellyfish has a round white head and tentacles that are thin and flow through the water. The jellyfish can sting with its tentacles, and this protects it from predators.

To move like a Jellyfish, students can use their hand to be the jellyfish head, and their fingers as the tentacles that hang underneath the head. With their palms facing down, students should bend their fingers towards their palm to show how the jellyfish moves through the water, being propelled by the movement of its tentacles.

The Shark

The Shark is one of the most feared undersea creatures. They are large fish with very sharp teeth, and they prey on most creatures in the ocean. Sharks are known for a very pointy triangular fin on their back that sticks out of the water as they swim. They have cone like heads with a pointy nose.

To move like a shark, students should put their hands together, and with their fingers pointing up to the sky, but their hands on their head to imitate a shark fin. Next they can move around chomping their teeth to act like the scary shark.

The Lobster

The lobster is a crustacean. It has a hard shell and two large sharp claws, called pincers. It also has very thin tentacles coming off its face to help it sense the things around it in its environment. In the water lobsters look brown or blue, but when they are out of water and cooked to be eaten by humans they turn red. This means that lobsters are often depicted as being red, even when they are in the water.

To act like a lobster, students should make a “V” shape with each hand by pressing their pointer, middle, ring, and pinky fingers together, and leaving the thumb finger along. They can mimic the lobster’s claws by closing the V and moving their thumb to their other fingers.

The Crab

The crab is much like a lobster, but has a more circular shape and legs that help it scuttle across the ocean floor.

To act like a crab, the students should make pincers like they did for the lobster, and then move quickly two steps to their right, and then two steps to their left, to mimic how the crab scuttles on the ocean floor. They can also do a “crab walk”; students should sit on the ground, put their legs out in front of them, and then put their hands behind them on the ground, with palms flat. Students can do the crab walk by lifting up on their hands and feet from this position, with their stomach toward the sky, and move by moving hands and then feet.

The Puffer Fish

The puffer fish is well known for making its head puff up or blow up with air. This protects it from its enemies.

To mimic a puffer fish, students should use air to puff out their cheeks, and then make their eyes wide. They can take their hands, placing their thumbs on their puffed up cheeks, and move them like they are waving to act as the fish’s fins.

The Dolphin

Dolphins look similar to sharks, but are very friendly fish. They have a fin, but it is not as distinctive as a shark’s. Dolphins are known for leaping out of the water as they swim.

To mimic a dolphin, students should put their hands together and hold their arms out in front of their heads. This is the dolphin head. Next, they can pretend to leap by jumping, moving their “head” out and back into the water.

Undersea Creatures English Vocabulary

[This is a suggested list of vocabulary; additional words should be added by Teachers as they are used in class.]

Week 1: Undersea Creature Names, Colours, Shapes, Undersea Environment

Octopus jellyfish dolphin whale shark crab lobster

puffer fish grey white red orange black brown

yellow green blue triangle rectangle square circle

water wave(s) sand ocean floor coral seaweed

Week 2: Features of the Undersea Creatures, How Creatures Move

fin tentacles jaw scales shell legs scuttle swim

glide leap crustacean predator prey school of fish

Week 3: Social Skills in Empathy and Emotions

happy sad angry upset scared safe excited

glad thankful confused

2 comments to Undersea Creatures Curriculum

  • Hi,
    I hope one of the side effects of this course will be a greater appreciation of ocean creatures and more concern for protection and establishing limits that will insure future sustainablilty of our fishing stocks. Since my focus at Seafood Recipe is seafood I support anything that will increase awareness and appreciation for sea life and promote healthy oceana. Thanks

    All the best,

  • It looks like you have a good framework for teaching the kids about undersea creatures. You might also try using some really exciting facts. For example,the box jellyfish is one of the most venomous creatures in the world and they can be fatal to humans.
    Keep up the good work.