Grade School Class Project: Create an Ocean Animal Encyclopedia

Purpose of the Exercise

This ocean animal webquest will introduce students to ocean animals. Students will learn about what animals eat, how they hunt or avoid being eaten, and what special adaptations they have. Each student will work as part of a small group to create an encyclopedia of animals that includes at least one animal for each letter. Students can choose their own animals. Each group may focus on a specific ocean or geographic area to avoid duplication of animals between teams.

The Task

Students will work in groups of 4 or 5 to create an animal encyclopedia, listing alphabetically the ocean animals that interest them. Each page should be about a specific animal and each page should have the same basic information including a paragraph of interesting facts.

Tell students the basic information will include

  • The name of the animal
  • Type of animal
  • The ocean or geographical area it lives in
  • The animal's general size
  • Whether it is endangered.

Additional facts may include unusual adaptations, what the animal eats, how they catch their food, or any fact the student finds interesting. Teachers may add other requirements for older students such as the genus and species for each animal.

Process and Resources

Helpful websites include:

Students can review these websites to get ideas for at least one animal for each letter of the alphabet. Encourage students to consider deep ocean animals and microscopic animals in addition to the larger species they may already know. Each group can create a page for the encyclopedia in a PowerPoint presentation or on paper. Each page should include the required information specified in the section above. Each page should also include at least two additional facts on each animal. Extra points will be awarded for the use of pictures.

This activity will require some time to complete and students should be given time in class and at home to finish the encyclopedia. Students can present their finished encyclopedias to the class and the teacher can put them on display for viewing by other classes.


This project will be graded on a 5-point scale that easily converts to letter grades.

1 – Not all letters are included in the encyclopedia. Not all required information is included.

2 – All letters are included. Missing some of the basic information or additional facts required.

3 – All letters and basic information are included. A few photographs or extra facts are included.

4 – All letters and basic information are included. There are some additional facts and/or pictures included for less than half of the animals.

5 – All letters and basic information are included. Additional facts and/or pictures are included for most of the animals.

This ocean animal webquest will allow students to direct their own learning and investigate the animals they find most interesting. Students who want to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants should contact a local aquarium or university.