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Ocean Zones

Ocean zones worksheet compares 3 different underwater zones.

Kids in 3rd to 8th Grade explore the depths of the sea with this ocean zones worksheet.

ocean zones

Print the Worksheet - See Link Below

MatchCard Science Ocean Zones Worksheet

Objective: Compare the amount of light at three different ocean zones.

MatchCard: Download below.

The ocean zones worksheet has a diagram of the three different ocean zones: euphotic zone, dysphotic zone, and aphotic zone. Information pieces will be matched to the correct zone.

Projects: Find out how much water filters out light.

Download and Use the Ocean Zones MatchCard

science worksheet download arrow

This is MatchCard #6 of the Oceanography Unit Study. More information on the MatchCard Science curriculum is at the bottom of this page.

Preliminary Activity: Light and Water

You will need:
  • A tall transparent vase or glass
  • Newspaper print or brochure to read
  • Water
Place the vase over the print and have the students read it. Ask if they could read it if water was poured into the glass.

Fill the container about 1/4th full of water. Have the students read the print.

Explain that light can shine through water for a certain length. Ask how much water would be needed that light could not shine through.

In several steps, continue filling the container. Even when it gets to the top, they will be able to see the print. However, it will likely start getting a little blurry.

Explain that light can easily shine through 50 meters of water. Step out 50 meters on your yard and road.

After 1000 meters, light no longer shines through water. Have them estimate how far that would be from your house.

Using the Ocean Zones Worksheet

Show the ocean zones worksheet. The color print out shows three layers of darker blue. Explain it would be gradual, and that at the bottom it would be completely black (no light or color.)

The Euphotic Zone

The euphotic zone begins at the surface and ends about 50 meters below the surface.

Has enough light for photosynthesis to take place. Plankton and seaweed are only found here.

Dysphotic Zone

The dysphotic zone starts at about 50 meters below the surface and continues to 1000 meters.

There is enough light for vision but not enough for photosynthesis. The nekton are the ocean creatures that live at the dysphotic zone.

The amount of light decreases with depth.

Aphotic Zone

The aphotic zone is more than 1000 meters below the surface and extends to the ocean floor.

No light gets through the aphotic zone.

Animal life is rare and produces its own light through bioluminescence.

Information pieces

Cut apart the information pieces and have the students place them at the correct location on the ocean zones worksheet.

Color the Ocean Zones Worksheet

Black and white copies of the worksheet are included in the download. This is done to allow students to color the diagram, as well as save your ink cartridge if you choose to print a number of worksheets.

Have the students color the ocean, but they may only use two crayons: blue and black. (Alternative: use aqua-marine and black)

Start at the top and lightly color extending all the way down to the ocean floor. Then moving the crayon down to the dysphotic zone, again color down the page using slightly more pressure.

Continue this layer after layer making about ten layers instead of only three.

The last four layers, start applying the black crayon: first with light pressure, then medium, and finally firm black.

What's In a Name

Students in 5th grade and higher can analyze the names of the zones by considering the prefixes and suffix.


Photo means light. Make a list of words with "photo" in it.

  • Photograph (Picture created by light)
  • Photosynthesis (Glucose made by light)
  • Photon (light particle)


"Eu" and "ev" are the Greek prefixes for good.

  • Eulogy (study of a person's good qualities - often at a funeral)
  • Euphemism (good sounding word or phrase instead of a blunt phase)
  • Evangelism (good message)


"Dys" or "dis" mean difficult or bad
  • Dysequilibrium (lack of balance)
  • Dysfunction (functions poorly)
  • Disease (literally means not at ease)


"A" and "an" both mean "not".
  • Assymetrical (not in symmetry)
  • Amoral (without morals)

To the Fields

If you have the opportunity to go into a swimming pool, lake, or ocean experiment with light reaching different depths.

Use a weak light source such as a penlight. One person stands above the water and shines it down. The other person can go underwater with goggles on to see the behavior of the light.

So Much Ocean to Study

check box ocean floor model
The Ocean Floor

MatchCard Science

How To Use MatchCards

MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide

Have you and your kids had the fun of using MatchCards yet? These reusable worksheets teach new concepts and provide a continuous review and reinforcement of concepts already learned. There is one MatchCard for each objective; they can be used independently, as a complete curriculum, or a supplement to another curriculum. For more information download the Free MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide which explains how to set up your reusable MatchCard notebook.

Ocean Unit Study

Ocean Unit Study Cover

We're surrounded! By water that is. Two-thirds of our planet is covered by the seas. Discover the mysterious depths in our ocean unit studyoceanography unit study. Seven objectives describing the different oceans, sea creatures, plant life, and more

A Total of 12 Unit Studies

MatchCard Science Cover

This science curriculum would take two years to complete, with twelve complete unit studies including the Oceanography Unit Study. See them all at MatchCard Science Unit Studies.

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