1. Activate students' prior knowledge.
Explain to students that, millions of years ago, the oceans were full of incredible sea creatures, or marine reptiles. Some were very big. Some were fast swimmers. Ask: What sea creatures might you encounter if you traveled 82 million years back in time? Display the Sea Creature Trading Cards and have students preview them. Ask: What do you already know about the six sea creatures on the cards?

2. Have students find facts about sea creatures and complete the cards.
Divide students into small groups. Print and distribute one copy of the Sea Creatures Trading Cards for each group. Then, have small groups use the Sea Monsters website to find information about their sizes, as well as fun facts about each. Have each group work together to complete the cards with the information.

3. Have small groups trade and compare cards.
Allow groups time to trade and compare cards. Then have a whole-class discussion. Ask: Did other groups find any fun facts that you didn’t? Have groups add to their cards as they hear new information.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Earth Science
    • Geology

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Hands-on learning
  • Research

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

  • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Understanding

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Science Education Standards

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Pencils
  • Scissors

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per small group, Projector

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Small-group instruction

Background Information

Millions of years ago, the oceans were full of incredible sea creatures.

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None


marine reptile

an animal that breathes air and usually has scales, and lives most of its life in or around the ocean.



This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1114251. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.