Ocean Engineering and Designing for the Deep Sea (Book)

Crabtree Publishing Company Rebecca Sjonger
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity , Experiment/Lab Activity , Informative Text
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



Ocean Engineering and Designing for the Deep Sea by Rebecca Sjonger, is a non-fiction text that shares real-life examples of how ocean engineers design equipment to study the deep sea. A design challenge is embedded to help students understand key concepts of buoyancy related to the engineering design process. The book is available for free with teacher membership at https://www.getepic.com/educators.




Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
As students read the book, they learn about various ways ocean engineers solve problems using the engineering design process. Through pictures and diagrams, students see how engineers brainstorm innovative solutions to various challenges such as designing submersible vessels. In the culminating activity, students are challenged to develop a submersible vessel that can switch from positive to neutral buoyancy. Criteria, constraints, and a possible materials list is suggested. Teachers can encourage students to brainstorm ideas and write down suggestions in their notebooks with labeled sketches prior to beginning the challenge.

3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Clarification Statement: Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will create prototypes of devices that can float on water and show neutral and positive buoyancy. It is suggested that the teacher address balanced and unbalanced forces when talking about positive and neutral buoyancy.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students learn how ocean engineers design technologies so we can explore the oceans. Ocean engineering solutions have helped us learn more about marine life, how the Earth formed and climate change. Information in the text is also used to explain how the engineering design process can help students investigate the phenomenon of buoyancy and how it relates to deep sea submersibles in a culminating design challenge.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
In the Try it Yourself activity, students investigate buoyancy and the forces that act upon it and test a prototype. Since many ocean devices float on or hover in water, students need an understanding that the force of gravity pulls devices down while the buoyant force of liquid pushes them back to the surface. It is suggested that students sketch their prototype in a notebook and explain the forces that are acting on it (causing it to have neutral or positive buoyancy). Though the wording of the Disciplinary Core Idea is not used in the book, the concept is implied. It is suggested to use the terms "zero net force," "strength," and "direction" when referring to the prototypes in the water as students are investigating.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
In the final design challenge, students develop a prototype that can switch from positive to neutral buoyancy without using their hands. Students might want to brainstorm their own list of questions designed to meet the crosscutting concept of structure and function. Guiding questions: Which materials that you are using will float? Which will not? How will you shape your materials so they are buoyant?

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource can be used to help students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about ways that ocean engineers design equipment and processes to help scientists study ocean systems. Science and engineering ideas are used together to explain the phenomena of how ocean devices hover and float on the water. Teacher support and additional resources will be necessary for students to more fully understand zero net force. There is strong alignment to CCSS English Language Arts since students will be reading and discussing informational text.

  • Instructional Supports: The combined use of photographs and diagrams helps students visualize how engineers solve problems and design solutions. There are no specific differentiation supports, but clicking on a word pops open a dictionary definition that reads the word aloud, which is very helpful. Learning may be extended by using the links at the end of the book.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Clicking the question marks (???) button in the blue drop down menu allows students or teachers to create quizzes based on the book that could be used as formative or summative assessments.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The feature that reads words aloud and gives a definition may be helpful to English Language Learners. This resource also includes an interactive quiz feature as noted in the blue drop down menu.