Lesson Plan #3 ~ Ocean Currents


Sixth graders experiment to understand the ocean's currents.  In this ocean current lesson, 6th graders complete an experiment with two bottles of water and an index card to discover information about the ocean current.  Students complete a worksheet and two online activities related to ocean currents.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
Inquiry-Based Learning

Ocean Currents

Students observe two teacher demonstrations of what happens to ocean currents. In this ocean currents instructional activity, students watch as the teacher adds different substances such as pepper, salt, and food coloring to a fish tank before they describe what happens during each trial. They do the experiments and draw conclusions about ocean currents throughout the world.

The Open Ocean, What is it and How Does it Change?

Learners investigate the ocean environment. In this ocean lesson, students discover the physical properties of the ocean. Over two days, learners work in small groups investigating ocean maps and creating water currents.

STEM: Lou-Vee Air Car

A comprehensive lesson on acceleration awaits your physicists and engineers! Two YouTube videos pique their interest, then sample F=ma problems are worked and graphed. The highlight of the lesson is the building of a Lou-Vee air car! Emerging engineers find its mass and compute its acceleration in order to figure out the force provided by the "engine." Math and science collide in this forceful feat!


Students use their prior knowledge to being their examination of the water cycle. In groups, they complete an experiment in which they can see water evaporating and coming back to the ground. They discover the ocean's water evaporates and then comes back down to the ground in the form of precipatation.

The Motion of the Ocean

What drives the ocean's motion? Get your class moving toward understanding by using this video. Viewers find that thermohaline circulation is caused by the concentration gradients of temperature and salinity. Using adorable animation in which water and salt molecules have arms and faces, middle schoolers are sure to stay engaged.

Ocean Currents Quiz

In this ocean worksheet, students complete a 13 question multiple choice on-line interactive quiz about ocean currents. Prior knowledge is assumed.

One Ocean

Help your class to understand the concept of the one world ocean by first asking them to draw the ocean boundaries. Discuss the challenges this presents in terms of sharing the oceans and the resources contained. That is all there is to this lesson. It is brief, but the topic is stimulating and can be used as a part of your oceanography or social studies curriculum. 

Science Current Events Lessons

You can use current events to increase student understanding of both science concepts and language arts skills.

DC mesh current analysis

For this circuits worksheet students complete a circuit building exercise and answer questions about different circuits.  There is an answer link.

Observing Reactions

Students use the scientific method to complete to experiments that have visible reactions. In this visible reaction lesson, students participate in an experiment with melting ice and one with inflating a balloon. Students record their observations of the visual changes in these experiments.

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