Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Plotting the Ocean Floor

Nancy Dow
Bay District Schools


Learning about the topography of the ocean floor is easily accomplished when students plot points on a graph, connect the dots to make the ocean floor profile and label the topographical features.


The student knows that the solid crust of Earth consists of slow-moving, separate plates that float on a denser, molten layer of Earth and that these plates interact with each other, changing the Earth's surface in many ways (e.g., forming mou


-Student copy of - Plotting the Ocean Floor- (associated file)
- Student copy of -Ocean Floor Graph- (associated file)
-Computer with Internet access


1. Photocopy the activity -plotting the ocean floor-
2. Review web links included.


1. Introduce the Geography of the Ocean Basins by going to the World Ocean Floor on the Internet. Browse and click the map for selected close-ups and commentary.
2. The teacher will pass out the -Plotting the Ocean Floor- handout (see attached file)
3. The students will plot the given data on a graph
( attached file)
4. Then the students will connect the points with straight lines; this will be the topography of the ocean floor.
5. The student will label the correct topographical features of the ocean floor on their graphs.


Plotting the Ocean Floor will be assessed by correct plots on graph, and topographical features labeled correctly.


As extended project the students can create a three-dimensional model of the ocean's major topographical features using a shoe box and paper mache.
Students can do follow-up by going to web sites such as

Web Links

Web supplement for Plotting the Ocean Floor
Plate Tectonics

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