5 Ways to Integrate Arts Into Your Ocean Science Unit
Everyone’s talking about arts integration, but there’s more to it than catchy buzzwords. Arts integration is an approach to teaching and learning through which content standards in other disciplines, like history, math or science, are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts. Think of it like an arts mash-up that allows students to explore regular school subjects in unique ways! With that in mind, here are five creative ways you can integrate National Common Core Arts and ELA Standards into your ocean science lessons.
Arts Integration for Science Lessons
After completing your unit about the ocean, have students choose an ocean dweller that they did not study in class. Have them write down 15 (or more depending on your students’ ages) questions about their creature’s life. They will then research and memorize the answers. Pair up the students and have one student interview the other! Make it fun, inviting costumes and voices they think their creature would have.
Courtroom Food Chain
Choose a group of sea creatures that are all in the same food chain together. Assign roles to the students (i.e. shark, a school of fish, plankton, seaweed, etc.) including a judge, a defense lawyer and an attorney. A fisherman is on trial for too much fishing, and he is harming the food chain! Have the students take the stand to describe the ocean food chain and its importance and see if the fisherman has a change of heart.
Have each student choose an ocean creature you have studied in class. Give them a few days of journal prompts and then have them read one selection in the first person in front of the class as if they were the creature. Give them the freedom to include costumes and voices. Some journal prompts may be:
- Tonight, before I went to bed, I took a look at my habitat. It looked like…
- When I woke up today, my habitat looked different! It was…
- My friends and I went to Ocean School today. We are all different, but we live in the same habitat. These are my friends…
- During dinner, a predator came to our house! Here’s what happened!
Break up your students into groups of four-five and have them select an ocean creature. Have them study the way the animal moves. What muscles does it use to move forward? Can it move on land? The assignment is to have students create an exercise class being their creature. They will use their knowledge of how they use their bodies and teach the class some exercises to strengthen those certain body parts. To go an extra step, encourage them to use appropriate music that matches the temperament of their creature. The result should be a group of students leading the rest of your class in movements unique to that creature.
Break students into groups of four or five. Assign each of them a different habitat in the ocean, or a different ocean depth. As a group, they will select five challenging words to memorize and perform a mock spelling bee. Since it will be rehearsed, they will know who will win, but the class will not. In each group, one student will be the “teacher” and the other students will be the participants. Each group will perform their mock spelling bee for the class.