001 - What are oceans?

Factual Question

What are oceans?

Where are the oceans of the world?

What are the key characteristics of an ocean?

Key Terminology

            • Ocean
            • Gyres
            • Thermohaline

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below:


Useful Links

Activity One - See, Think, Wonder

It is always important to start a unit by having a good knowledge of why we have included a unit on oceans into our curriculum. As oceans cover 70% of the Earth's surface they have a huge impact on our lives, even though we live in the land locked country of Switzerland! For this activity you are going to mainly interrogate an image. You are going to describe what you 'See'. Then 'Think' about what you see - this is a statement. Then finally 'Wonder' about the image. The wondering can be completed as a series of questions. Collect a copy of the grid below to fill your answers in to. This process will help me to find out what interests you about an aspect of ocean environments.


      1. Collect a copy of the See, Think, Wonder sheet and we will work through it together. You will spend about 5 minutes on each section to explore the image below.
See, Think, Wonder

Activity Two - Explore

It is also important to focus on how these ocean environments can have a critical impact on our daily lives and in turn how we are impacting this fragile environment. We will be exploring the impact of our actions in more detail throughout this unit. Answer the following questions by using the information in the 'Useful Resources' box. Remember to write in full sentences to explain your thoughts!


      1. Why do you think oceans are important in our lives?
      2. How are our oceans incredible?
      3. How are we impacting our oceans?

Activity Three - Processes and Comprehension

It is good to have an understanding of the fundamentals of the processes that happen within our oceans. To do this you are going to complete a series of comprehension questions using the information in the 'Useful Resources' box.


      1. Describe the movement of ocean currents in the Northern and Sourthern Hemisphere.
      2. Why is there little ocean current movement near the Antarctic region?
      3. Why is the water around the UK warmer than its location suggests it should be?
      4. Why are ocean currents important?
      5. Watch the second YouTube clip and explain why the ocean water is salty?
      6. How does the ocean conveyor belt work?
      7. Collect a blank copy of a map of the world and mark on the movement of the ocean conveyor belt. Use different colours for the warm and cold currents.
      8. What is the importance of the ocean conveyor belt?
      9. Describe what El Niño and La Niña are?
      10. How do El Niño and La Niña impact the climate of an area? Give examples.
Ocean Conveyor Belt Mapping Exercise