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.

Help us make this site better!  Please provide your comments or suggestions

From Our Collaborators

Students describe forms of energy found in the ocean and explain how they are used by humans. Students explain three ways that energy can be obtained from the ocean.

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...

Students learn why coral reefs are important, and what can be done to protect them from major threats.

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.

/ Sea World Education
Students explore the natural history of sharks and recognize that humans are an interconnected part of sharks’ ecosystems.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ PBS Nature
Students will learn about adaptations that have helped sharks and rays survive. Students will explore similarities and differences between sharks, rays and other fish and that different types of sharks and rays have different temperaments and diets and that some of the largest sharks and rays are the most gentle.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
A curriculum for teachers of Grades 6-12 that takes lesson plans that were developed for NOAA Voyages of Discovery and the Ocean Explorer Web Site and presents them in a comprehensive scope and sequence through subject area categories that cut across individual expeditions.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ COSEE-Ocean Systems
This supplement was developed for university level students, but can be adapted for middle and high school students. This supplement to Oceanography Magazine focuses on educational approaches to help engage students in learning and offers a collection of hands-on/minds-on activities for teaching physical concepts that are fundamental in oceanography. These key concepts include density, pressure, buoyancy, heat and temperature, and gravity waves.
Grades: 9-12
/ COSEE-Central Gulf of Mexico
This activity can be used for the study of currents with special attention on the Loop current of the Gulf of Mexico.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
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 exploration; explain why ocean exploration is relevant to climate change; and discuss at least three benefits that might result from ocean exploration.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Service
What discoveries and human benefits have resulted from exploration of the Earth’s deep oceans? Students will be able to describe at least three human benefits that have resulted from explorations of the Earth’s deep oceans. Students will be able to identify separate examples of Ocean Exploration expeditions focused on historical, biological, and physical features of the Earth’s deep oceans.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ COSEE-Central Gulf of Mexico
After an introduction in which students try to identify hidden objects by the sounds they make when shaken in a box, students use string to map a model ocean floor by taking depth readings to simulate sonar.
Grades: 3-5
/ NOAA Ocean Service
Students will be able to explain and carry out a simple process for separating DNA from tissue samples and complex mixtures. Students will also be able to explain the process of restriction enzyme analysis.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will describe the overall events that occurred during the Cambrian Explosion; explain how methane hydrates may contribute to global warming; and describe the reasoning behind hypotheses that link methane hydrates with the Cambrian explosion.
Grades: 6-8