Lesson 1: Fresh Water

Getting Started

In this unit, you will learn about water on our planet. Before you begin your journey through the seas, you need to understand how the ocean is different from other bodies of water on our planet. Do you know the difference between fresh water and salt water? Fresh water does not have salt, but ocean water does. (Have you ever tasted the water in the ocean? Yuck!) Fresh water is the water we can drink. Fresh water can be found in rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Where do you think fresh water comes from? Snow on mountaintops begins to melt in the spring, as the weather gets warmer. The melting water flows down the mountaintops in streams that flow together to form rivers. Small rivers empty into larger rivers, and these larger rivers eventually flow directly into the ocean.

Note: As you work through your lessons, remember to check off the boxes as you complete each reading assignment and activity.

Stuff You Need

  • Oceans for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
  • 3 oz. paper cup
  • blank paper
  • food coloring (kit)
  • freezer
  • glue stick* (Activity 1 - optional)
  • measuring cup
  • old towel or paper towels
  • plastic bottle (kit)
  • salt
  • scissors
  • small squirt bottle (kit)
  • spoon
  • tap water
  • teaspoon
  • wide-mouthed jar or glass

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed

Ideas to Think About

  • How are living things dependent on fresh water?
  • How are organisms in freshwater habitats dependent on one another?

Things to Know

  • Fresh water is found in rivers, lakes, and ponds.
  • Fresh water is the water we drink and use to wash.
  • Vertebrates are organisms that have backbones and invertebrates are organisms that do not have backbones.


  • Recognize that most of Earth's water is present as salt water in the oceans, which cover most of Earth's surface. (S)

Introducing the Lesson

Tell your child that, in today's lesson, he will discover the difference between salt water and fresh water. Then he will explore fresh water habitats and the amazing organisms that live there. The lesson ends with a study of icebergs.