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“Deep Sea Exploration” is a history unit wrap-up or introductory activity


Social Studies  


5, 6, 7, 8  

Title – Deep Sea Exploration
By – Toby Anderson
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 5-8

Introduction: This lesson plan is an adaptation of a lesson plan found in the 5th Grade Level “History Alive” textbook. I adapted this lesson plan to fit the 6th grade curriculum, with a focus on European History. Setup:

  • The teacher creates a sunken ship by placing masking tape on the floor of the classroom. The “ship” is a 6′ x 12′ rectangle.
  • The rectangle is then be divided into eight 3′ x 3′ squares. Label each square with an index card (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, B3, B4).
  • Give the students a handout with a grid labeled the same way.
  • The teacher chooses eight “artifacts” and prints them on 8″ x 11″ card stock. Use different artifacts depending on the “site of the shipwreck” or the “origin of the ship”. There are great pictures for this project on the Library of Congress website: .


  • Divide students into groups of two or three depending on class size. Give each group a handout and flashlight.
  • Each group member then takes a turn “diving” to the “sunken ship” and retrieving an “artifact” placard.
  • The teacher should encourage the use of imagination by playing underwater music in the background, by encouraging the students to make swimming motions, etc.
  • Upon returning from the ship, the group investigates each “artifact”. They record where they got the artifact and sketch a picture of it on their handout. They brainstorm what the artifact is and what it was used for.
  • The teacher should give ample time for the “dive teams” to explore each artifact and then conduct a classroom “news conference”. Each team should share their ideas. Usually, the students do an effective job of figuring out what the “artifacts” may have been used for. Teacher should guide this conversation, so his/her objectives for the lesson are achieved.


    This lesson can be used as an introduction lesson or wrap-up activity depending on how the teacher guides the activity.

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