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

To help students understand that science is a part of their everyday lives, students will complete an activity where they create a collage of people doing science using magazines and drawing...

Students exercise their observation skills to do some of the actual work of marine biologists who study the endangered North Atlantic right whale. They identify an individual whale by examining...

Students will create a class mural depicting coral reefs and act out life on a coral reef through a short skit. This artistic approach to studying the coral reef habitat will engage many types of...

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.

/ Smithsonian Institution and New England Aquarium
Students exercise their observation skills to do some of the actual work of marine biologists who study the endangered North Atlantic right whale. They identify an individual whale by examining photographs taken at sea. They then examine a record of sighting of the whale in order to track its movements.
Grades: 6-8
/ National Geographic
This lesson asks students to research current and proposed methods of assisting the recovery of northern right whale populations. Students will conduct Internet research to investigate the best strategies to help save right whales.
Grades: 9-12
/ University of Maine Lindsey Lab
This lesson introduces high school students (grades 9-12) to the topic of sensory perception in the marine environment. The WebQuest introduces the role of acoustic cues in ocean ecology and challenges students to determine if acoustic warning devices are useful tools to prevent right whale fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes in the Gulf of Maine.
Grades: 9-12
/ Massachusetts Marine Educators
Students analyze maps of shipping lanes and whale sightings to devise a new shipping lane through the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary to minimize ship strikes on whales.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ National Geographic
The activity covers background, migration, and feeding behaviors of humpback whales. It also includes a simulation of bubble net feeding and a drawing exercise.
Grades: 3-5
/ NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program/State of Hawaii
This book is filled with activities about the humpback whales of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback National Marine Sanctuary, with information about whale identification, migration, behavior, and information on cetaceans in general.
Grades: 3-5
/ NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Program/National Geographic
Students learn the importance of monitoring endangered marine mammals like humpback whales and how monitoring can help marine conservation efforts.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Students will identify the relative depth of corals in the ocean by observing the behavior of cold and warm saltwater in an experiment. Students will gain a global understanding of coral reef life by reading for information and creating a model of a reef.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Students read and then present to the class about different types of symbiosis. They are then introduced through a PowerPoint presentation to the coral-zooxanthellae relationship.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
Students will learn about the anatomy of coral bleaching, how ocean temperature increase can be a cause of coral bleaching and will try to predict general areas likely to be affected by coral bleaching by interpreting sea surface temperature data.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8