How many oceans are there? How deep are they? Students will learn about the Earth's oceans with these worksheets.

Oceans drive the weather on our planet, exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, and ultimately support all life. We have yet to explore more than a tiny fraction of their volume, but we do understand how the various ocean cycles affect other parts of the planet. These worksheets will introduce students to wave formation, tides, important currents, and more. Each short reading passage is accompanied by questions for students. Answer keys have been provided.

Fun Fact: The Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean, is almost seven miles deep! Incredibly, life has been found even at this depth.

Get Free Worksheets In Your Inbox!


Print Ocean Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Ocean Waves Reading Passage

Water in the oceans is always in motion and one type of motion is waves. Waves are simply places where the water is higher above the surface of the ocean.

Print Now!

Ocean Waves - Multiple Choice Questions

Even though it might look like the ocean water is moving forward with the wave, the water molecules in the ocean travel in a circle during wave motion.

Short Answer Questions

Another term used when talking about waves is breaking waves. A breaking wave "falls over" at the top usually with some white foam.

Ocean Tides - Reading Passage

In order to understand ocean tides, we first need to travel a little over 238,000 miles out into space! That's the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Ocean Tides - Multiple Choice Questions

Because the lunar orbit is an ellipse, this means that sometimes over the 27.3 days it takes the Moon to make one orbit around the Earth the distance between the Earth and the Moon is larger than at other times.

Short Answer Questions

The water in the oceans is tilting back and forth due to the gravitational effects of the Moon causing high tide and a low tide each day.

How Deep Is the Ocean? - Reading Passage

The bottom of the ocean is called the ocean floor. The ocean floor is part of the earth’s crust just the same as the continents except that the ocean floor is covered with salty seawater.

Multiple Choice Questions

The ocean floor surrounding a continent is called the continental shelf; the continental shelf is a relatively flat area around the continent where the water is up to 500 feet deep.

Short Answer Questions

The deepest parts of the ocean are the trenches, the place where the tectonic plates under the ocean meet.

The Gulf Stream - Reading Passage

Most of the ocean is several miles deep. Take a minute to think about someplace just three miles away. How much activity is there in those three miles?

Multiple Choice Questions

Currents are caused by several factors that can be explained by principles of physics and chemistry. Currents keep the water in the ocean moving around the globe so that water from different locations eventually mixes together.

Short Answer Questions

One important factor in where and how currents flow is the wind. Global winds are always blowing in about the same pattern and winds cause currents on the surface of the ocean.

The Seven Seas - Reading Passage

What is a sea and how is it different from an ocean? Both a sea and an ocean contain salt water.

Multiple Choice Questions

The Seven Seas is an ancient term and the list of the Seven Seas of the world depends upon the time period in history.

Short Answer Questions

A modern definition of the Seven Seas includes only oceans: North and South Pacific, North and South Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, Antarctic Ocean.

Why Is the Ocean Salty?

Scientists believe that thousands of comets containing ice collided with the earth as well and contributed to the amount of water on earth.

Multiple Choice Questions

All that rainwater and other changes in the earth over time eventually resulted in the formation of the oceans.

Short Answer Questions

As fresh water travels across the land in rivers and streams or enters the water table as groundwater, it collects minerals from the rocks it comes in contact with because water is such a good solvent.

Humans under the Ocean - Reading Passage

About 71 percent of the surface of the earth is covered by oceans. During the Age of Discovery (1450 to 1650) European explorers sailed around the world but they explored the surface of the ocean and located other continents and islands they didn't know existed.

Multiple Choice Questions

The world's record for a human swimming below the surface of the water is just over 400 feet but this is an extraordinary athlete because the world's record for a scuba diver is 475 feet below the surface.

Short Answer Questions

Ocean researchers use a variety of exciting submersibles to explore the ocean depths. Only a select few researchers and specially trained pilots of these vessels are fortunate enough to view the undersea world.

Tsunami or Tidal Wave? Reading Passage

A tsunami is the same thing as a tidal wave. These giant waves have been incorrectly labeled as a tidal wave for many years but that name doesn’t make any sense.

Multiple Choice Questions

When these events occur in the deep ocean, they cause a huge displacement of water.

Short Answer Questions

The time between one wave and the next in a tsunami can be anywhere from 5 to 90 minutes. The amount of time depends on where and how the earthquake or volcanic eruption occurred.

The Ocean Bottom - Reading Passage

The bottom of the ocean is also called the ocean floor. Since about 71 percent of the earth is covered by the ocean, about 71 percent of the earth is ocean bottom.

Multiple Choice Questions

Coastal wetlands are another marine environment that exists in shallow salt water near the shore.

Short Answer Questions

Beyond the shoreline is the continental shelf which is a relatively flat area of ocean bottom covered by about 500 feet of water.

Plants of the Ocean Passage

Most of the life in the ocean occurs where sunlight can penetrate. In general sunlight penetrates only about 160 to 300 feet below the surface and this vertical region of the ocean is called the photic zone.

Multiple Choice Questions

The most common form of life in the photic zone is plankton. Plant plankton are called phytoplankton.

Short Answer Questions

Seaweed is another form of algae that is found in the ocean. Seaweed is called a plantlike organism because it is not a true plant.