Just like layers of the earth, the ocean has layers too! Have you ever wondered how you could see them without going scuba diving in the ocean?  Well, you can learn about the layers of the ocean right at home or in the classroom!

This big idea is made tangible for kids with our fun and simple ocean layers activity. Explore the layers of the ocean with a liquid density tower experiment for kids.  We love easy ocean science activities!

LAYERS OF THE OCEAN SCIENCE ACTIVITY FOR KIDS!

layers of the ocean science activity

LAYERS OF THE OCEAN

Get ready to add this simple ocean layers jar to your OCEAN lesson plans this season. If you want to learn more about ocean science, let’s dig in!  While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun ocean activities. 

Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind!  Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun!  Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!

OCEAN LAYERS FOR KIDS

Let’s explore the different ocean layers with a liquid density experiment! Combine both kitchen science and ocean biome investigation with one neat activity!

Click here for your FREE Printable Ocean Activities.

This ocean layers experiment asks:

  • How many ocean zones are there?
  • What are the different layers of the ocean?
  • Why don’t different liquids mix?

Let’s explore the answers together!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • A large glass style jar 30 oz or bigger (mason jars work well)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Light corn syrup
  • Water
  • Rubbing  Alcohol
  • Black, blue and dark blue food coloring
  • 5 paper cups
  • 5 plastic spoons

supplies to make the ocean layers experiment

HOW TO MAKE AN OCEAN LAYER JAR:

You are going to be making several layers of the ocean floor in this ocean layers experiment.

1. Trench layer:

Measure 3/4 cup of corn syrup, mix with black food coloring and pour into the bottom of your mason jar.

2. Abyss layer:

Measure 3/4 cup of dish soap and slowly pour into the bottom of your mason jar on top of the corn syrup.

3. Midnight layer:

Measure 3/4 cup of water, mix with dark blue food coloring and carefully pour into the bottom of your mason jar on top of the dish soap.

4. Twilight layer:

Measure 3/4 cup of oil and pour into the bottom of your mason jar on top of the water.

5. Sunlight layer:

Measure 3/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, mix with light blue food coloring and pour into your mason jar on top of the oil layer.

CLASSROOM TIPS

If this seems a little too complicated with all the different layers for your group of kids, try it with fewer layers! The ocean is actually two major areas or zones which are further divided into the 5 ocean layers in our ocean science activity. Or you can also say there are 3 areas of the ocean, the surface ocean, the deep ocean, and an in-between layer!

These two major ocean areas that include the ocean floor (also known as the benthic zone) and the ocean water (known as the pelagic zone). Go ahead and make your jar with just two areas using dark blue water and oil! You can even add sand and shells.  Did you see our model in the video above?

LAYERS OF THE OCEAN

This fun ocean theme experiment allows you to explore two different concepts, a marine biome, and a liquid density tower.

First, kids can explore the different layers of the ocean and investigate what lives in each layer.

The 5 ocean layers are:

  • Trench Layer
  • Abyss Layer
  • Midnight Layer
  • Twilight Layer
  • Sunlight Layer.

The top three layers include sunlight, twilight, and midnight zones. These zones make up the pelagic zone. The abyss and trench zones are found in the benthic zone.

The ocean is a type of marine biome and the layers or levels of the ocean represent how much sunlight each layer receives. The amount of light dictates what lives in what layer!

LIQUID DENSITY TOWER

Second, let’s explore how a liquid density tower deals with matter, liquid matter (matter also includes solids and gasses).

Matter has different densities meaning some are heavier and some are lighter. It’s hard to imagine that different liquids have different weights, but they do!

Like solids, liquids are made up of different numbers of atoms and molecules. In some liquids, these atoms and molecules are packed together more tightly, resulting in a denser or heavier liquid like the corn syrup! These different liquids don’t mix with one another because they are not the same density. This separation forms the layers of color in the jar!

CHECK OUT MORE FUN OCEAN IDEAS

FUN OCEAN LAYERS ACTIVITY FOR OCEAN SCIENCE!

Discover more fun and easy science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.

Best ever STEM and science activities for kids.

Check out The Complete Ocean Science and STEM Pack in our SHOP!

3 Comments

  1. A note for anyone trying this experiment! You will need 91% rubbing alcohol! We used 70% and it sank below the vegetable oil and combined with the water layer.

  2. Hello i work in a preschool. if the jar above is shaken by little hands will it even out in the correct order? or will it be ruined? thanks!

  3. It will separate but it will take time. I might just stick with an oil and water layer with a bit of sand for preschool ages!

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