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Oceans, Seas, and Deep-Sea Creatures

Posted on October 23 2022

Oceans, Seas, and Deep-Sea Creatures


Dear Educator,

This week, Maps101 is diving into (pun intended) the deep waters of Earth to present you with a wide variety of content for your students. Take a virtual Field Trip under the sea and find out about ocean features with a dynamic, GIS-based map with activities. Then, we will take another Field Trip to learn more about ocean currents and explore a related map. Finally, we end our dive with snow crabs and other amazing creatures of the deep sea. Grab your scuba gear and let’s take a plunge. Okay, it’s a lot of puns, but sometimes when waves of opportunity come pouring in, it is hard to not jump right in.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 71 percent of Earth‘s surface is covered in water. Earth’s oceans contain nearly 97 percent of all of Earth’s water. The world’s seas and oceans are teeming with life. We require special equipment, however, to explore most of these depths. This Field Trip helps students become more familiar with what lies below, with no aqualung needed. Topics include fish, sharks, the mammals of the oceans, sea turtles, invertebrates, crustaceans, mollusks, coral reefs, trenches, the ocean floor, conservation, and more. Students will have a full tour of the major life forms that call the world’s oceans their home.

GeoInquiries use dynamic, layered maps with activity questions and instructions, to help students learn about their world. This GeoInquiry asks students to categorize sections of the oceans and understand their importance. The ocean features included on the map are the abyssal plain, continental shelf, continental slope, mid-ocean ridge, and oceanic trench. The activity asks questions such as: Can oceans be classified by landforms like continents, and how do plate tectonics shape ocean bottoms? Students will explore features of the ocean through further exploration of specialized maps and diagrams.


The Ocean Features activity looked under water, but what about ocean currents? Project this map on the board to have students review the cold and warm water currents on Earth as a preview to the next Field Trip. What do students notice about the relative temperatures of the surface currents compared to the Equator and distance from it? Interested students might want to research currents’ effects on weather.


The previous map gave students a preview of ocean currents. Now it is time to take a closer look in this interactive Field Trip. Students will learn about visible water motion, the force of the wind, wind direction, surface currents, boundary currents, deep ocean currents, and more. We will also look at pollution, both in the water and on the shore.


Water pollution is not the only effect humans have on the world’s oceans. Climate change has been linked to human activity, and it affects both the land and the seas on Earth. Have students read this exclusive GNN article that focuses on sea surface temperature. There is even an accompanying map to illustrate the concepts.


Climate change has warmed the world’s oceans, affecting the ecosystems where creatures thrive. This past week, the state of Alaska declared a suspension the usual snow crab fishing season because of the huge decline in the number of crabs. As their name implies, snow crabs thrive in very cold water. Learn more about this recently discovered evidence of global warming.


Finally, let’s look at more of the amazing animals that live in the world’s oceans. If students have not heard of these creatures, they will be amazed to learn about them: anglerfish, fangtooth fish, Pacific viperfish, goblin sharks, blobfish, and more. Links in the article for each animal provide images to help students better familiarize themselves with these unusual creatures.


We hope you have enjoyed this focus on Earth’s seas and oceans with Maps101. The featured resources above will give you an idea of the type of content available with your subscription. We hope your weekly tour of topics in the GeoJournal helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

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