Lesson Plan

There's No Place Like Home

A crab on a rocky beach
Many different animals make their homes in the ocean, like this crab!
NPS Photo / DeAnna Von Halle

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Grade Level:
First Grade-Second Grade
Environment, Marine Biology, Oceanography, Oceans
60-90 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24


Homes can be in warm or cold climates, on land or in the ocean, but they all have share certain features and requirements to help us survive and live well.  Let’s take good care of our homes…always!


At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Explain 3 ways to take care of our homes and be good stewards of our planet. 
  2. Compare 2 different zones of the ocean. 
  3. List and describe 2 marine organisms that live in a cold water climate and 2 marine organisms that live in a warm water climate.


The italicized portion of the following can be used as a Teacher’s script:

The world is covered in water! Nearly ¾ of the planet is covered in saltwater…can you guess where?! Oceans of course!

Pass around a globe and talk about different and regions of the world that would be cold or warm/hot. Locate the state of Alaska and find the Seward Peninsula. See attached map for exact location.

First, we are going to talk about a very cold part of the world and a very special place. Can you point out where Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is? There is a part of an ocean that borders Bering Land Bridge and is a very important home to many different types of animals, and a very important resource for many neighboring communities. It is an ocean that freezes over in the winter and never gets really warm in the summer due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. Is there an ocean near you? Is it a warm climate ocean or a cold climate ocean?

Pass around globe and find different oceans and areas of the world that would be cold or warm/hot.

We might live near the water, but can we live in the water? No! Why not? What would we have to be able to do if we lived in the water? Even though we are not able to live there, we certainly do depend on it! What are some of the great things that we can either do or get from the ocean that help us live better?

Let’s think about the kinds of homes we live in and different things we need to survive.



Paper house display:

Spread out the different pieces of furniture on a surface accessible to the students and have tape ready. Using the paper house ask students to place items in house that are requirements for survival….and others that perhaps are more of a creature comfort. Talk about ways we take care of our homes.

Now we are going to have the opportunity to find out a bit more about what homes are like in the ocean! We are going to read a story today to discover more about oceans and some of the animals that we can find there and what they do to survive.

Let’s get out the iPads!

Pass out ipads and take a moment to practice using them. Find The Magic School Bus Oceans app and open it. It is best to keep the sound off so the story can be read together as a group and there are no competing noises from the app. Begin story. It can be fun to alternate readers between students, teacher, and “Ms. Frizzle” (on the app)!

Additional resource possibility: Have a picture of the different “floors” of the ocean. From the intertidal then to the continental shelf and down to help show the flow of the story and transition between zones in the ocean. There is a picture in the app before each section to show how the topography is changing.

All of the extra pages and links are great! The bubbles on a page indicate a link to additional information that comes either as a photo, video, or interactive game. Some specific pages you might consider exploring during the class:

Intertidal Zone: Flounder video – Check out the great camouflage! 

Continental Shelf: Go Fish Game – Can you think of a food chain including animals that live near you? 

Continental Shelf: What is Plankton Game – Without it, the ocean and other ecosystems would not survive!

Continental Shelf: Whelk picture – They carry their homes with them! 

Island and Fringing Reef: Coral of many colors – Many of us think of corals as only living in warm water, but no! There are coldwater corals found right near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in the Bering Sea!

We saw many animals that you might find in an ocean near Bering Land Bridge….and some that would not be able to survive! Why not?

Sorting exercise: Separate animal cutouts into warm and cold climate oceans. Many ocean animals can live in either a warm or cold climate ocean depending on the species, however there are certain species that can only survive in a very specific environment. For example, a Florida manatee cannot survive in water that falls below approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making it very unlikely to ever see one in the Arctic. Likewise, an ice seal with its heavy coat would more than likely not fare too well in Florida. There are however many species of marine animals that can move between cold and warm climate oceans. They may move depending on their life cycle stage and food sources. After sorting the animal cutouts talk about some marine animals that live in both cold and warm climate oceans.


Create an ocean mural! Using the animal cutouts and printouts of warm and cold climate oceans create two class murals! Color the base of the murals before gluing on the animal cutouts. Add some tissue paper for some additional color, perhaps some colored yarn for algae. If your students live near the ocean, add the beach and draw in your school!


Discussion: We talked about things we do to take care of our homes. What can we do to help take care of the home we just learned about? Let’s think of activities that we do to keep our homes and ourselves healthy and safe that we can also practice outside of our homes that would help keep the oceans healthy and safe!

Conclusion: There really is no place like home! It is a place where we gather, eat, play, and enjoy the company of family and friends. Let’s think of our planet as one giant home shared by all that needs to be taken care of! This huge home of ours has so many different and wonderful things like those that we saw today as we journeyed through the ocean on the Magic School Bus. All of the amazing animals and ecosystems need to be taken care of so we can continue to have a beautiful and healthy home.


Idea List of Marine Animals for Sorting Exercise and Mural:



  • Ice Seals: Bearded Seal, Spotted Seal, Ribbon Seal, Ringed Seal
  • Walrus
  • Beluga whale
  • Killer whale
  • Polar Bear


  • Red King Crab
  • Cold water Gorgonians


  • Pink Salmon




  • Manatees


  • Spiny lobster
  • Brain coral


  • Whale shark
  • Clown fish
  • Spotted Eagle Ray


  • Green sea turtle


ocean, home, warm climate, cold climate, survive, plankton