Students develop ideas about living things at an early age, but most of their ideas are based on experiences with land plants and animals. Students learn that plants are producers, and through photosynthesis, they make their own food. Sunlight is a key part of the process, so plants need sunlight in order to survive. Students also learn that areas rich with vegetation and food sources are also rich with animal life. Applying these ideas to marine environments may be new to students, and some students may struggle with these concepts. They may be confused about where the plants, or producers, are located in the ocean. They may recognize coastal vegetation such as grasses but not recognize phytoplankton and algae that live in the open ocean. How can students' previous knowledge about land flora and fauna affect how they will learn and understand marine plant and animal life?
Watch this video of 5th grade students in Laguna Niguel, California—a coastal community. The purpose of this classroom video is to see students learn about biodiversity found in the euphotic zone and to listen to their questions about the topic.
For additional classroom context, video analysis, and reflection opportunities, read the Picture of Practice page for "Life in the Ocean" in the One Ocean Environmental Literacy Teacher Guide, page 46.