Understanding by Design Unit Template

Title of Unit

Ocean Mania

Grade Level 1st grade

Content Area


Time Frame 5 weeks

Developed By

Lauren Checker

Brief Overview
(Summary of
This unit will take place during summer school of 2016.
Students will all be “oceanographers.” Students will engage
in activities in which they will learn and explore our world’s
oceans. Students will gain understandings of the geography,
shores, reefs, and deep sea, including the animals, plants in
each region. We will even dive into human interaction,
focusing on hazardous that can harm the ocean and our
beaches such as oil spills and littering.

Each week we will focus on a specific concept/sub category
dealing with the ocean. In the first week I will introduce all of
the oceans of the world. This will be helpful when discussing
different subcategories because I will be able to tell students
where in the world we are talking about (e.g. dolphins
wouldn’t be found in the Arctic Ocean). We will also explore
the differences between salt water and fresh water. Students
will also learn about the varying layers of the sea. We will
then start learning about ocean shores, specifically of the
Atlantic and Pacific and the types of animals that can be
found. In week two we will further explore ocean shores and
the animals that live in these regions and how they live/eat. In
week three we will be exploring coral reefs, specifically The
Great Barrier Reef. We will learn about the diversity of the
reef and the different plants and animals that live there. In
week four we will be moving into more deep sea animals
such as dolphins and sharks. Students will gain understanding
in how these animals live, swim, eat, and coexist in the ocean.

Finally, students will then learn about how the ocean is
important to us, and what we can do to help protect our
world’s oceans.

I would like to start each day as a whole group, doing a read
aloud or showing a PowerPoint of what we will be focusing
on for that day. The mini lessons each day will be interactive
and support learning. I will then gradually release
responsibility and have the children further explore our daily
concepts. This will include a related reading, writing, or craft

Identify Desired Results (Stage 1)
Key Content and Literacy Standards: Established Goals
Next Generation Science Standards ( NGSS)

NGSS. K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and
animals (including humans) need to survive.

Science and Engineering Practices
Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Analyzing data in K–2 builds on prior
experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing

Disciplinary Core Ideas
 All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food
from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and

Cross Cutting Concepts
Patterns: Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be
observed and used as evidence.

NGSS. K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans
on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment

Science and Engineering Practices
 Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2 builds on
prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new
Disciplinary Core Ideas
 Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around
them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land,
water, air, and other living things.
Cross Cutting Concepts
 Cause and Effect: Events have causes that generate observable patterns.

NGSS. LS4-1.Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity

of life in different habitats.
Science and Engineering Practices
 Make observations (firsthand or from media) to collect data which can be
used to make comparisons.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Biodiversity and Humans
 There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist
in different places on land and in water
NGSS. 1-LS3-1.Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that
young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.
[Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include features plants or
animals share. Examples of observations could include leaves from the same
kind of plant are the same shape but can differ in size; and, a particular breed of
dog looks like its parents but is not exactly the same.] [Assessment Boundary:
Assessment does not include inheritance or animals that undergo metamorphosis
or hybrids.]
Science and Engineering Practices - 1-LS3-1
 Make observations (firsthand or from media) to construct an evidencebased account for natural phenomena.
Disciplinary Core Ideas- 1-LS3-1
 Young animals are very much, but not exactly like, their parents. Plants
also are very much, but not exactly, like their parents.
Crosscutting Concepts-1-LS3-1
Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to
describe phenomena, and used as evidence.
Common Core State Standards Connections:
ELA/Literacy -

1.RI.1Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects
W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from
experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

NGSS. 3-LS4-4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem
caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that
live there may change.* [Clarification Statement: Examples of environmental
changes could include changes in land characteristics, water distribution,
temperature, food, and other organisms.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is
limited to a single environmental change. Assessment does not include the
greenhouse effect or climate change.]

Science and Engineering Practices
 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem by citing relevant
evidence about how it meets the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
 When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical
characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms
survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into
the transformed environment, and some die.
Common Core State Standards Connections:
RI.3.1Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text,
referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (3-LS4-4)

Additional Common Core State Standard Connections:

 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about
grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care,
speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
b. Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of
others through multiple exchanges.
c. Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under

 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to
clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings
 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring
explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers
 With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to
questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing
as needed.

*Note: There are many more CCSS I could connect to given
lessons/activities, if you would like to see more just let me know 

Students will understand that…
 Oceans are different from
lakes/ponds ( we cannot see or
visit an ocean near us, the ocean
is made of salt water)
*Salt water vs. Fresh Water
 The ocean is a place made up of
many different plants and
animals ( DIVERSITY)
 The difference between
mammals and fish ( i.e.
 The ocean has many different
layers in which different types
of animals/plants live
 We can harm the oceans
creatures if we do not dispose of
trash properly
Knowledge: Students will know…
 Where the oceans are in the
 Oceanographers study the ocean
 Different types of plants and
animals that live in the oceans
 What type of water these
creatures need to survive
 The difference between a fish

Essential Questions
 How can the ocean impact my
 How does the ocean play a role in
animals/plants lives?
 How is the ocean diverse?
 What can we do to preserve the
ocean and its creatures?

Skills: Students will be able to do…
 Identify ocean animals by name
and type ( examples include: sea
turtles, humpback whales,
dolphins (bottlenose), sea lions,
 Identify ocean plants ( examples
include: seaweed, seagrass, kelp)
 Compare and contrast different

and a mammal
 The differing layers of the
 What different harms there are
to the ocean and its creatures

animals ( examples include
sharks and whales)

Assessment Evidence (Stage 2)
Key Evidence of learning: What will students be able to do and understand?



 Students will keep a journal where they will write
down new information learned, observations,
questions, ideas, and more. I will look to these to see if
students are understanding the main ideas we are going
through in class. This will also allow me to gage my
future planning and considerations for lessons/activities
 I will constantly be informally assessing students. I will
monitor student behavior and student responses. I will
make use of questioning to ensure student
understanding. I will use a variety of checking for
understanding such as thumbs up/thumbs down, 1, 2,3,
and conferring. Conferring will also be a good time to
progress check students to ensure learning and growth.
 There will be no formal summative assessment.

What criteria will you use to determine proficiency/essential understanding?

Learning Plan (Stage 3)
*Note, each day we will address where in the world’s oceans we are learning
*Most days will have a mini lesson involving a read aloud ( fiction and
nonfiction) and power point with discussions/questions, then students will do an
activity based on the learning
*Each section of the ocean will represent a wall in the classroom

Week 1 –
 Students will be able to identify and name the oceans of the world.
 Students will understand the difference between fresh water and salt
 Students will identify the varying layers of the ocean
 Students will begin to explore ocean beaches/shores

Possible Activities:
 Getting to know you activities (i.e. beach ball toss, name

Name tags/decorate with ocean theme
Paper plate activity
-Students will color and label the oceans
Sinking vs. floating activity with fresh vs. salt water.
Fresh water vs. salt water activity
-freezing activity ( can the ocean freeze as easily as fresh
Students will create sensory bottles and label the differing
Show and tell of shells or sand?
Multiple read aloud about beaches and discuss what activities
you can do at the beach. Also, what types of animals would
live on beach shores.
-Making of moon sand/beach in a jar/observations of shells
Hermit crab activity

Week 2Objectives:
 Students will explore and identify animals on ocean beaches (
i.e. hermit crabs, snails, crabs, turtles)
 Students will identify how these animals move, what they eat,
and how they live.
 Students will begin to explore shallow waters and coral reefs

Possible Activities

Week 3

Design a shell for a hermit crab
Write a story about a time they "came out of their shell"
Moving like snails
Egg-carton turtle craft
Write a narrative about the life of a hermit crab/turtle/or crab

 Students will distinguish what animals live in shallow ocean
waters and coral reefs ( I. e clown fish, sea horses, eels, sting
rays, turtles)
 Students will identify and classify the Great Barrier Reef,
including animals and plants that live there
-What do they need to survive?
Possible Activities
 Week activity- students will work in groups to create their own
coral reef on large construction paper. They will identify the
plants and animals that live in coral reefs.
 Students will write through the eyes of an animal of why they
live in the coral reef
*Note, differentiation will be applied for all writing activities.
Drawing and explaining via picture is a possibility.
*If time, we will explore jelly fish and octopus
Week 4
 Students will categorize animals into fish and mammals
 Students will name and identify sharks, whales, and dolphins
-beluga and humpback, bottlenose dolphin, and great whites
vs. nurse sharks, and seals/sea lions
 Students will learn how these animals move through the water
 Students will recognize what these animals eat, how they live,
( i.e. whales and dolphins live in pods and are very social and
some sharks live in isolation)
 Compare and contrast the differences between sharks and
Possible Activities:

 As a class or partnerships we will compare and contrast sharks
and dolphins
 Students will learn and explore through an activity how fish
breath ( gills)
 Question and answer beach ball
 Students will explore the different sizes of these animals to
objects ( i.e. a whale is about the size of a school bus)
( discuss relative sizes)

Week 5

 Students will tell the importance of sunlight to plant and
 Students will identify the effects humans have on the ocean as
a food chain/ecosystem
 Students will tell ways to help the ocean and its ecosystems
 Students will recall why we rely on the ocean ( food)

Possible Activities:
 Students will review/ learn how plants and animals are
dependent on sunlight and each other (I will explain how
plants and animals rely on each other and how humans
sometimes disrupt that balance).
 Students will explore water vs. vegetable oil
 Students will write about how they can help the ocean ( i.e. no

Resources for books:

From: Wiggins, Grant and J. Mc Tighe. (1998). Understanding by Design,
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development