Our Earth is covered in beautiful oceans—but how much do we know about them? While scientists have only explored a small portion of these bodies of water, we’ve learned a lot from their efforts. What’s a coral reef? Is table salt the same as what’s found in the ocean? What’s do oceanographers do? We’ve put together this list of amazing ocean facts for kids to share with students in the classroom!
Oceans cover nearly 71 percent of Earth’s surface.
These huge bodies of saltwater contain almost 98 percent of all the water on Earth!
There is one world ocean.
Scientists and geographers divide it into five different sections: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Southern, and the Arctic Oceans.
A sea is a small area of an ocean.
Seas usually have land on several sides. The Mediterranean Sea is located between Africa and Europe. The Baltic Sea can be found in northern and central Europe. You’ll find the Caribbean Sea between North, Central, and South America.
Ocean water is salty.
Its saltiness comes from sodium chloride, a chemical substance that is dissolved in the water. Our table salt is also sodium chloride but in crystal form!
Oceans are deep as well as wide.
The average ocean is a little over two miles deep. The deepest part of the ocean, though, is Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean which is almost seven miles deep!
The ocean floor has many levels.
The continental shelf, the shallowest part, runs along the edges of the continents. They slow down towards the deep parts, which are called the basins. All the way at the bottom of the basins are large, flat plains. Deep cracks in the ocean floor are called trenches.
Ocean water is constantly in motion.
Winds and other forces move large amounts of ocean water move around Earth in patterns called currents. Watch this great video to learn more!
Ocean currents can be warm or cold.
The warm currents usually bring warm weather and rain while cold currents often cause a dry climate.
There is life on all levels of Earth’s oceans.
Whether it’s plants that grow near the water’s surface or animals swimming in their habitat, many living things call our oceans home.
There are about one million species of animals living in the ocean.
Most of them are invertebrates, animals without a backbone, such as shrimp and jellyfish.
Some of the Earth’s smallest animals live in the ocean.
Zooplankton are so small that you need a microscope to see them!
The largest ocean animal is the blue whale.
In fact, it’s the largest animal to ever live on Earth. It’s as long as two school buses! Watch this amazing video to learn more about blue whales!
The ocean has regions called habitats.
Distance from the shore, ocean depth, and temperature determine the types of plants and animals that live in an area of the ocean.
Coral reefs are a type of ocean habitat.
The skeletons of tiny animals called polyps harden to give living polyps a home. When polyps die, more move in. Coral reefs are formed from thousands of years of this cycle.
Coral reefs are like the rainforests of the sea.
They provide food and shelter to many kinds of ocean animals. Check out this video about our world’s Coral Kingdoms !
Much of the world’s oxygen is created by phytoplankton and algae.
Through photosynthesis, they produce about half of the oxygen that land-dwelling creatures (including humans!) breathe.
Oceans keep climates stable by storing heat from the Sun.
By moving water around the globe, oceans keep places from getting too hot or too cold.
About 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating on the world’s seas.
Sadly, 10% of all dead animals found in beach cleanups worldwide were entangled in plastic bags. Watch these kids take action against ocean plastic!
Animals on both land and sea eat plastic.
The devastating truth is that 90% of seabirds and 52% of sea turtles have accidentally eaten plastic trash. One expedition found plastic in the stomachs of 20% of the fish.
Ocean pollution reduces oxygen in the water.
Plastic pollution disrupts the species of bacteria that reside in the ocean and is responsible for producing oxygen.
Oceanographers study the oceans and try to keep them healthy.
They monitor the way the water moves, look at the structures of basins and seafloors, examine the quality of the water, and study the plants and animals that live in oceans.
We’ve only explored 5 percent of the ocean.
Will you be the next oceanographer to discover an underwater trench or new species of fish? Watch this cool video about ocean explorers!