Ocean Lesson Plans

Welcome to the Educators' Corner

The ocean provides the air we breathe, food we eat, and water we drink. Just as we need the ocean, the ocean needs each one of us.

Our Ocean Portal Educators’ Corner provides you with activities, lessons and educational resources to bring the ocean to life for your students. We have collected top resources from our collaborators to provide you with teacher-tested, ocean science materials for your classroom. We hope these resources, along with the rich experience of the Ocean Portal, will help you inspire the next generation of ocean stewards.

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From Our Collaborators

Students will be able to discuss why scientists believe there are important undiscovered features and processes in Earth’s ocean; discuss at least three motives that historically have driven human...

A package containing lessons, worksheets, and activities to teach young students about sustainable seafood. Each subject has two levels: one for grades K-2 (key stage 1) and another for grades 3-5...

Students learn what types of data scientists collect to monitor coral reefs, and how these data are used.

More Lesson Plans

Find lessons/activities by topic, title or grade levels. Sort by newest or alphabetically. Lessons were developed by ocean science and education organizations like NOAA, COSEE, and NMEA to help you bring the ocean to your classroom.

/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
In this lesson, students will build upon their understanding of coral reef ecosystems by examining the different techniques that three fish use to feed. Goatfish, parrotfish and long nose butterflyfish each live and feed on coral reefs in a different way. Students will look at the different methods through a simulation.
Grades: K-2
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
This lesson combines Life Science and Investigation State Standards as it builds on the MCR LTER Connected Ecosystems lesson. Students will explore the concepts of living and nonliving components that make up an ecosystem by looking at how temperature determines the ranges of kelp and coral. Students will incorporate reasoning skills as they discuss kelp and coral temperature ranges, using the In Hot Water PowerPoint, then construct and interpret graphs of real yearly temperature data collected by the MCR LTER.
Grades: 3-5
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
Students will play a game in order to learn about predator-prey relationships, a simple food chain, and the coral reef ecosystem. Students will act the parts of various reef fishes, to explore the relationship between predators and their prey. When the lights are on, damselfish emerge from hiding in the reef to forage for food. At night, however, individual damselfish race against one another to find shelter in the reef. Damselfish that do not successfully find refuge at night may be eaten by nocturnally feeding squirrelfish. Squirrelfish do not come out to eat during the day for fear of...
Grades: 3-5
/ Moorea Coral Reef Education LTER
Students will play a game as a class to learn about living and non-living components of an ecosystem and natural cycles. By exploring the relationship between a coral reef seastar and the resources in its environment, students will begin to understand an animal’s reliance on its ecosystem and all its parts. A follow-up PowerPoint lesson is available on the MCR LTER education website to emphasize the concepts introduced in this lesson in a more formal format and bring in more ecosystem state standards.
Grades: 3-5
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
Students will gain an understanding of the basic components of a coral reef ecosystem, with emphasis on specific abiotic and biotic factors crucial to reef health and trophic level relationships among key organisms. Also included in the lesson is an opportunity for students to learn about traditional, Polynesian culture and the native uses of coral reef resources. This is accomplished through a PowerPoint presentation with corresponding student note-taking guide and several short critical thinking group work opportunities throughout the lesson.
Grades: 6-8
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
In this two part lesson, students gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between environmental factors and organism adaptations through a focused study on a specific coral reef denizen—the personable farmerfish. Students first take part in an interactive PowerPoint presentation to gain background knowledge and then apply learned concepts by participating in a board game.
Grades: 6-8
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
In this two part lesson, students will compare and contrast the adaptive strategies of branching coral and mounding coral through participation in an interactive PowerPoint and a hands-on lab activity. Students complete a note-taking guide during the PowerPoint that provides background information to be used during the lab. In the lab activity, teams of 4 students construct different corals out of paper and test the design stability against physical disturbance.
Grades: 6-8
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
This lesson introduces the idea of interrelationships among organisms and how these could help them persist in a coral reef ecosystem. Students will learn about symbiotic relationships, with mutualism among coral and zooxanthellae as the model organisms in the first lesson and then moving on to parasitism and mutualism. Topics include the transfer of energy and matter through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. These concepts are approached through the marine environment, rather than the terrestrial environment, which allows most students to take a step out of their comfort zone...
Grades: 6-8
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
This lesson is created to stress the idea of interrelationships among organisms and how this can effect the surrounding environment. This lesson also goes step by step through the scientific approach to developing and implementing a scientific research study. Students are expected to write their own ideas about the best way to investigate the scientific questions provided, and compare their ideas to those of the actual researcher.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ Moorea Coral Reef Education LTER
This lesson stresses the idea of interrelationships among organisms and how this can persist in a challenging environment as well as introduce the impacts that humans have on marine life. This lesson also discusses the scientific approach to developing, implementing and interpreting a scientific research study. Students are expected to write their own ideas about the best way to investigate the scientific questions provided, and compare their ideas to those of the actual researcher. Students are also challenged to think logically about the events that may be occurring in the ocean environment...
Grades: 6-8