Under the Sea

I learned early on that snacks and candy are a way to a child’s heart and a solid tactic to keep them engaged. This next project I have for you incorporates goodies as well as a fun lesson about the ocean’s layers.

The ocean has 5 different and distinct layers that each have their own unique characteristics. The layers range from the surface layer where most ocean activities occur, to the deep dark depths of the water that have yet to be fully explored. The deep layers have unique sea creatures, freezing temperatures, and high pressure.

What You Need:

  • M&Ms

  • Sour Patch Kids

  • Lucky Charms

  • Mini Marshmallows

  • Swedish Fish

  • Plastic Cup


Layer the ingredients into the plastic cup based on the different oceanic layers using different ingredients to represent each one.

Bottom Layer: Hadalpelagic Zone (The Trenches)

  • Use M&Ms

  • The Hadalpelagic zone lies between 19,686 feet to 36,100 feet. The depth depends on the trenches and valleys in the area. The zone cannot be explored without specialized kits due to its cold temperatures and high pressure. Natural light cannot penetrate to the Trenches. Different creatures can be found in this layer, mostly invertebrates including starfish.

Next Layer: Abyssopelagic Zone (Abyss)

  • Use Sour Patch Kids

  • The Abyssopelagic zone, also known as the Abyss or Abyssal zone, lies just above the hadalpelagic layer between 13,124 feet and 19,686 feet. The layer’s name has origins in the Greek language and loosely translates to “no bottom.” Just like the layer below it, temperatures are near freezing point, and there is no penetration of natural light. Pressure is also high due to the weight of the water above. Invertebrates like sea stars and squids can survive in this environment. Over 75% of the ocean floor lies can be found within this zone.

Middle Layer: Bathypelagic Zone (Midnight Zone)

  • Use Lucky Charms

  • The Bathypelagic layer is found between 3,281 feet and 12,124 feet just above the Abyss. This layer is also called the midnight or the dark zone. Although the Bathypelagic zone is dark, visible light may be observed from sea creatures found here. The pressure in the zone reaches 5,858 lbs for every square inch, and a huge number of different sea species are found in the layer. Many animals in this layer are either black or red thanks to low sunlight penetration. Some whale species, like the sperm whale, spend some time at this level in search of food.

Next Layer: Mesopelagic Zone (Twilight Zone)

  • Use Mini Marshmallows

  • Above the Bathypelagic zone lies the Mesopelagic layer (Twilight or midwater zone). The Mesopelagic zone lies between 656 feet and 3,281 feet. The zone is home to some of the strangest sea animals like the swordfish and the wolf eel. Faint sun rays penetrate the layer. 

Top Layer: Epipelagic Zone (Sunlight Zone)

  • Use Swedish Fish

  • The Epipelagic zone is known as the surface layer or the sunlight zone of the ocean ranging from the surface to 656 feet. There is plenty of light and heat within this layer although both decrease as the depth increases. Pressure is also minimal and increases with depth. Most oceanic life and human activities like leisure, fishing, and sea transport occur in the Epipelagic zone. The coral reefs can be found in the layer and the photosynthesis process occurs here. 

Make sure you post your edible ocean layers on Instagram and tag @themodernteacher!