Activity or Mini-Lesson

Shapes Of The Seafloor

Mapping the Ocean Floor
Ocean Exploration Trust

Using the 5E method (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate) students will gain an understanding of why seafloor mapping is a valuable tool in ocean exploration. With Play-Doh and shoe boxes, students will create their own simulated seafloor and use skewers to measure various depths to resemble what an ocean floor would look like.  This unit connects well to learning topographic maps and landforms. 

Objectives & learning outcomes

The student will:

  • explore modern mapping tools that reveal ocean floor shapes and why seafloor mapping is important to ocean exploration;
  • gain an understanding of topographic maps and build their own topographic map;
  • relate the concepts of sonar and animal echolocation. 

Grade level

Grade level

Time & materials

Time & materials
Scale: two of three
Prep time involves some setup of materials & low-cost supplies.



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