Transportation: Water

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11670

Fish don't have feet, so they can't walk on land. You don't have fins, so you can't swim across the ocean! But there are many ways to travel over (and under!) water. Now watch them, then build a boat!


People and Their Environment

Social Studies
learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
PreK/K, Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • How do ducks and fish travel in water?
  • Do you think people could travel in or on water without help?

Learn about some cool ways people travel on water!

In the previous Related Lesson in this Transportation series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about different ways people travel on land.

  • What are some ways people get from place to place on land?

Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

  • What does the word "transportation" mean?

Share your answers with your parent or teacher.


That's right! Cars, buses, motorcycles, mopeds, trains, and emergency vehicles are just some of the many ways people get around on land. Transportation is a way people get from place to place.

  • What happens when people need to travel by water?
  • What do they use?

Read on to find out about the different types of water transportation and how they help people get across bodies of water.


One way people travel across bodies of water is by using sailboats. Sailboats are boats with a special part called a sail. A sail almost looks like a large blanket. It's in the middle of the ship, and when a sail is up, it catches the wind. The wind pushes the boat from place to place.

The person driving the ship uses a steering wheel or moves the sail to guide the boat in the right direction. The sails can be turned to move the boat in a different direction. If the driver wants the boat to slow down or stop, he or she will simply put down the sails. If there's no sail to catch the wind, the boat will slow down or completely stop. Check out the sailboats below.

  • Have you ever seen a sailboat before?

Share your answer with your parent or teacher:


Ships are much bigger than sailboats. Ships usually have large engines that are used to power and move the ship. There are many different types of ships. Cargo ships transport goods like food, furniture, electronics, and much more over bodies of water. They can be seen with big carrying containers on the top.

  • Can you see the cargo ship in the first image below?

Another type of ship is a cruise ship. This type of ship carries people from place to place. Generally, people on cruise ships are on vacation. These ships will bring them to tourist destinations all over the world!

  • Can you see the cruise ship pictured in the second image?

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People can also travel by submarine. Submarines can travel above or under water. Submarines are used by many different types of people. Sometimes they are driven by soldiers or scientists. Soldiers use submarines to monitor the water surrounding different countries. Scientists can use them to study underwater life.

  • Did you know submarines have a special tool called a virtual periscope so the people on board can see what is above the water and in the air while the submarine is completely underwater?

Check out the cool submarines below:

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  • Wouldn't it be cool to experience different ways people use transportation to get from place to place in the water?
  • What are at least two examples of ways people get around in the water?

Share your answer with your parent or teacher, then move on to the Got It? section.

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