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

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...

Students explain the concepts of indicator species and microhabitats. Students compare and contrast “average regional conditions” with “site-specific conditions.” Students explain at least three...

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...

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 will be able to describe the process of chemosynthesis in general terms; to contrast chemosynthesis and photosynthesis; describe major features of cold seep communities; and list at least five organisms typical of these communities. Students will be able to define symbiosis; describe two examples of symbiosis in cold seep communities; describe the anatomy of vestimentiferans; and explain how tubeworms obtain their food.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to explain light in terms of electromagnetic waves and explain the relationship between color and wavelength; compare and contrast color related to wavelength with color perceived by biological vision systems; explain how color and light may be important to deep-sea organisms, even under conditions of near-total darkness; and predict the perceived color of objects when illuminated by light of certain wavelengths.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to compare and contrast deep-sea coral reefs with their shallow-water counterparts; explain at least three benefits associated with deep-sea coral reefs; describe human activities that threaten deep-sea coral reefs; and describe actions that should be taken to protect deep-sea coral reef resources.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to describe galvanic exchange and explain how this process produces electric currents. Given two dissimilar metals and information on their position in an Electromotive Series, students will be able to predict which of the metals will deteriorate if they are placed in a salt solution. Students will also be able to describe the effect of electric currents on the availability of metal ions, and how this might contribute to the growth of corals on shipwrecks.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to describe major features of cold seep communities; list at least five organisms typical of these communities; infer probable trophic relationships among organisms typical of cold-seep communities and the surrounding deep-sea environment; describe the process of chemosynthesis in general terms; contrast chemosynthesis and photosynthesis; and describe at least five deep-sea predator organisms.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to compare and contrast photosynthesis and chemosynthesis as sources of primary production for biological communities; give at least three examples of organisms that live near hydrothermal vent systems; and describe two sources of primary production observed in biological communities associated with volcanoes of the Marianas Arc.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to explain the process of chemosynthesis; explain the relevance of chemosynthesis to biological communities in the vicinity of cold seeps; construct a graphic interpretation of age-specific growth, given data on incremental growth rates of different-sized individuals of the same species; and estimate the age of an individual of a specific size, given information on age-specific growth in individuals of the same species.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to list the various adaptations that enable deep-sea fishes to survive; explain how bioluminescence helps deep-sea fish respond to food predator and reproductive pressures in their environments; explore how the structure of an appendage helps determine and utilize its function; describe how deepwater organisms respond to their dark environment.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students will be able to compare and contrast the processes of photosynthesis and chemosynthesis; identify and describe sources of energy used by various organisms for chemosynthesis; predict what chemosynthetic reactions might be possible in selected extreme environments.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Explorer
Students identify key functions that are present in healthy ocean ecosystems. Students will discuss how these functions are met by biotic and abiotic components in a model aquatic ecosystem.
Grades: 3-5