Introduction: Prior to beginning the lesson: (1) Cut out and laminate Vocabulary Cards for display in the classroom; (2) Photocopy Venn Diagram onto transparency paper for the overhead projector; (3) Photocopy Venn Diagram (1 per student); (3) Prepare a pitcher of salt water and a pitcher of fresh water.


Group Size: Whole Class


Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:

·          Understand that oceans are made up of salt water.

·          Distinguish between salt water and fresh water.


Materials: Vocabulary Cards (see attachment), Venn Diagram (see attachment), small paper cups (2 per student), salt water, fresh water, overhead projector, large map of the world



1.       Display a large map of the world. Tell students: Yesterday we identified oceans. How many oceans are in the world? Call students up to identify each ocean.

2.       Tell students: Today let’s talk about what kind of water is in an ocean. Does anybody know? Give students time to share ideas.

3.       Tell students: Oceans are made of salt water. Display vocabulary card “salt water” and tell students: Salt water is water with salt in it.

4.       Tell students: Oceans are the only bodies of water that have salt water. All other water is fresh water. Display vocabulary card “fresh water". Tell students: Fresh water is water without salt in it. Rivers, lakes, and streams all have fresh water.

5.       Tell students: Today you are all going to be scientists. You are going to examine salt water and fresh water. What do you think you can use to examine the water? Guide students to answer their five senses.

6.       Tell students: You are each going to get a cup of salt water and a cup of fresh water. I want you to use your five senses, smell, sight, sound, touch, and taste, to experiment with your water. Remember to make observations. Display vocabulary card “observation” and tell students: An observation is something you discover by watching or observing.

7.       Distribute two cups to each student. Circulate the classroom and fill the cups with salt water and fresh water.

8.       Give students about five minutes to explore with their water.

9.       Instruct students to move their cups to the corner of their desks. Distribute KWL Chart and display a copy on the overhead projector.

10.    Instruct students to label their chart: “Fresh Water”, “Both”, and “Salter Water.” Fill out the diagram together as a class, taking suggestions from the students.

11.    Tell students: Tomorrow we will continue to talk about salt water.


Modifications: For students with special needs, provided one-on-one assistance as necessary.


Assessment: Direct students to turn to a classmate and share one thing they learned today.


Benchmark or Standards:

National Science Education Standards

NS.K-4.1 Science as Inquiry – As a result of the activities in Grades K-4, all students should develop:

·          Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.

·          Understanding about scientific inquiry.

NS.K-4.4 Earth Science– As a result of the activities in Grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of:

·          Properties of Earth materials.

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