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

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—...

Students define terms pH and buffer. Students explain in general terms the carbonate buffer system of seawater. Students explain Le Chatelier’s Principle and predict how the carbonate buffer...

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...

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.

/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students describe human arm motion, design/construct mechanical arm model that biomimics human arms. Students describe simple machine aspects of their mechanical arm models. Students define mechanical advantage and discuss the importance of its use in robotic arm design. Students will describe four common robotic arm designs that biomimic human arm motion.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students create models of undersea geologic features on a bathymetric chart. Students interpret and explain the difference between bathymetric charts and topographic maps.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students compare and contrast the various methods (chemiluminescence, bioluminescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence, triboluminescence) of light-production in deep-sea organisms. Students infer the light-producing process that is responsible for light emission based on observations of an ecosystem.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students describe and contrast three types of underwater robots. Students discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using robots in the exploration of the ocean. Students identify a robotic vehicle that best suits a specific exploration task.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students describe and explain the two hypotheses for the frequent occurrence of deep-sea corals in the vicinity of hydrocarbon seeps. Students evaluate relevant experimental data and explain how this data may support or refute these hypotheses. Students define and contrast coincidence and causality, explain the relevance of these terms to hypotheses such as those related to deep-sea corals and hydrocarbon seeps.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students explain how fundamental relationships between melting and boiling points, solubility, temperature and pressure can help to develop plausible explanations for observed chemical phenomena in the vicinity of subduction volcanoes.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students describe the significance of complexity in benthic habitats to organisms that live in these habitats. Students describe at least three attributes of benthic habitats that can increase the physical complexity of these habitats. Students provide examples of organisms that increase the structural complexity of their communities. Students infer and explain relationships between species diversity and habitat complexity in benthic communities.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students discuss the meaning of biological diversity. Students will compare and contrast the concepts of “variety” and “relative abundance” as they relate to biological diversity. Students calculate the appropriate numeric indicator that describes biological diversity of communities given the abundance and distribution data of species in two communities.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students define and describe methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp. Students infer how methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp obtain their food. Students infer how methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp may interact with other species in the biological communities of which they are part. Students build a methane hydrate molecule.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students utilize a grid system to document the location of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site. Students use data about the location and types of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site to draw inferences about the sunken ship and the people who were aboard. Students identify and explain types of evidence and expertise that can help verify the nature and historical content of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8