Oceanography : Information Skills Lesson

Oceanography :  Information Skills Lesson

Working together the classroom teacher and the librarian can have oceans of fun with students.

This lesson is integrated into a unit on oceanography, can be used with 2nd-4th graders. In coordination between the library media specialist and the classroom teacher, these skills will be taught during a time when the children are in the Library Media Center, then will be continued when they return to the classroom.

Skills To Be Practiced In This Lesson

  1. Using a library catalog to locate printed information sources.
  2. Using a table of contents to locate information.
  3. Using alphabetical organization to find information in an index.
  4. Using an electronic source, both online and CD-ROM, to locate information.
  5. Writing simple notes while looking at an information source.


  1. As students enter the library have them sit at tables in groups.
  2. 10 minutes: The librarian will assign a sea creature to each group, as follows, along with an information source that each group will use to search for information about that creature. The librarian explains that students will have 30 minutes to locate their sea creature in their source, find as much information as they can, and write down key words.
  3. They will use their notes later to share their information with the class.


    • Table 1--Starfish. This group will use the library catalog to look for books about starfish. Some of these books will be larger books with references to several sea creatures, so students will use the table of contents and/or indices of these books to find references to starfish.
    • Table 2--Sharks. This group will use an encyclopedia on CD-ROM to locate information about sharks and print it out.
    • Table 3--Octopus. This group will search and interact with a CD-ROM program such as The Living Oceans, to locate information about the octopus.
    • Table 4--Whales. This group will locate, explore, and print information from an Internet site. (See the side bar for related links.)

  4. Using a chalkboard or overhead projector, the librarian will briefly demonstrate how to take notes from an information source, using these examples:

    If the source says, "The blue whale is the largest whale," then notes might be: blue whale largest. If the source says, "Whales may look like fish, but they are not fish. They are mammals," then the key words to write as notes would be: mammals not fish.

    After writing these two examples, the librarian will ask: What notes would you write down if your source says, "A starfish´s mouth is in the center of its five legs."

  5. 30 minutes: As groups go to their information sources and begin to explore, the librarian and teacher will each facilitate two groups, rotating between the two, making sure they understand how to use their sources.
  6. Students will return to their classroom, where the classroom teacher will allow time for students to share with the class the information they found, using the notes they have taken.

If desired this lesson could be repeated, assigning new sea creatures each session, so that teach group may have a turn to look at each information source.

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