Creature From the Deep
Introduction: Students can use their imaginations to good advantage in this activity, but they must get the facts right! For example, they can change one characteristic of an organism, such as increasing the size of a salp to 10 meters, but they need to include information about the normal size in the definition section.
You may wish to have students choose from only certain terms, such as sea floor features, or you can provide the entire list for students to choose from. Marine biology provides a rich source of creatures which can easily be modified for the purposes of a horror story.
Reference materials: text books, glossaries of ocean terms, dictionaries
Examples of ocean horror stories (Jaws, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Abyss, Peter Benchley’s The Beast, the B-grade movie Leviathan, tabloid news stories of sea monsters)
1. Using maps, images, and definitions, introduce the features of the sea floor. Be sure students understand the scale and typical location of the features. If studying marine biology, use this activity after students are familiar with the marine environment and many types of marine organisms.
2. Distribute and read through the list of terms. Explain to students they will be writing a horror story, appropriately using at least 8 of the terms. They will also be required to include a list of correct definitions of the terms they use. If a feature is altered in the story, the correct information must be included in the definition section. They can use theme of a research expedition that gets into trouble or design their own plot.
3. Read an excerpt from an ocean-based horror story to set the mood, then have students brainstorm and outline ideas individually. After they have used the information resources to record the meaning of their terms, they should begin writing.
4. Encourage students to illustrate their stories when finished, either with a book jacket cover design or a text illustration.
5. Students may want to share their stories with the class, or have their stories read aloud anonymously.
List of Terms:
|Surface Currents||Density Currents||Upwelling|
|Wave Height||Wave Length||Wave Period|
|Wave Base||Crest||Deep Water Wave|
|Wave||Shallow Water Wave||Seismic Sea Wave|
|Tsunamis||Spring Tide||Neap Tide|
|Tidal Range||Shore Zone||Rip Current|
|Continental Shelf||Continental Slope||Abyssal Plain|
|Mid-ocean Ridge||Oceanic Trench||Fringing Reef|
|Hydrocast||Meter Tow||Shipek Grab|
|Secchi Disk||Neuston Net||Steward|
1. Correct use of at least 8 terms.
2. Correct sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation.
3. Correct definitions for the terms used in the story.
Extensions: This project lends itself very well to shadow puppet projections. Make a shadow puppet theater by hanging a sheet from a string or dowel. Use a portable clamp lamp to backlight the action. Students can make cardboard silhouette figures for their stories and present them to class by holding the shadow puppets against the sheet and moving them while a narrator reads the story.
Source: Based on an idea by Julie Cunningham, SEA Experience, 1996 and Kristin Wyatt, Sea Experience, 1997
Copyright 1998-2008 by Sea Education Association, all rights reserved.
Compiled and edited by Pat Harcourt & Teri Stanley.
This project was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation (Proposals # TEI-8652383, TPE-8955214, and ESI-925324), the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation, the Donner Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of the Foundations.