Life on the Ocean Floor


Which creatures live on the ocean floor? In which zone? Depict life in either the sunlight, twilight, or midnight zone—and keep your science project Earth-friendly by recycling a box.


1. Salt water covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface. Although the ocean surface looks pretty much the same anywhere on the planet, what’s below the surface is as varied as life on land. Here is one way to create a cross-section of the ocean.

2. There are two ocean environments, the open ocean and the ocean floor. Find out what the ocean floor looks like. You will learn that there are three different zones in the ocean—sunlight, twilight, and midnight—determined by how much sunlight is present. Each zone has different temperatures, water pressures, and nutrients for plant and animal life. What zone will you display in your project?

3. The organisms that live in the ocean are determined by what part of the ocean they live in. Plankton and zooplankton drift near the surface of the water. They cannot move by themselves. Nektons are the organisms that swim and Benthos are the creatures that live on the ocean floor.

4. Here’s one way to transform a recycled box into an ocean-floor habitat. Use Crayola Crayons and Washable Markers to decorate construction paper to cover the inside of the box.

5. With Crayola Metallic Colored Pencils, Crayons, and Markers, draw the creatures for your ocean box on construction paper. Cut out thread long enough to hold each one. Tape thread to the backs.

6. Ask an adult to poke holes through the box so you can suspend your creatures from the top. Thread the stringed figures through holes and tape thread in place. Cover the outside of the box with decorated construction paper.

7. For a science project, label the parts of your diorama and prepare a report on the life shown in the saltwater environment.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

String-Like Materials—Includes string, raffia, lacing, yarn, ribbon, and other similar material. Children 3 years and younger should not be given any string-like material that is longer than 12 inches. Close adult supervision is essential whenever children use string-like material. When crafts are to be worn around the necks of children 8 years and younger, attach the ends of the “string-like material” with clear adhesive tape, which allows easy release of the bond if the craft becomes entangled or caught on equipment. For children older than 8 years, the ends of the “string-like material” may be tied and knotted.


  • Sculpt Model Magic® replicas of plant and animal life to add even more dimension to the dioramas.
  • Kick off a study of the ocean with a visit to an aquarium, either in person or on line.
  • Assemble layers of these dioramas, depicting various zones of the ocean. Clearly label the zones as well as plant and animal life found there.
  • Assessment: Is the underwater environment accurately portrayed? Does the sea life shown inhabit the environment created? Is the diorama well constructed with attention to detail?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Crayons
  • Metallic Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled cardboard box
  • clear adhesive tape
  • thread



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students research basic oceanography.

  • Students identify, compare, and contrast ocean environments and zones.

  • Students present their findings in a 3-dimensional display.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards