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

This activity is a fun, basic craft, but can be adapted to incorporate structure and function lessons in a classroom setting. Students will build their own fish from a paper plate, decorate it,...

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...

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...

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.

/ Deep Earth Academy/Constortium for Ocean Leadership
Students use foram “bio cards” to read and interpret authentic scientific data and build a graphic representation to unlock ancient history stored within sediment cores from the western equatorial Pacific.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ Deep Earth Academy/ Consortium for Ocean Leadership
In this activity, students graph and analyze data from sediments collected off the coast of Santa Barbara, California to determine whether this information can be used to study historical climate change.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Data Education (NODE) Project
Five lessons at increasing levels of sophistication incorporate real data from NOAA to help students understand how sea level is measured and monitored.
Grades: 6-8
This lesson uses the habitat of the Beaufort Sea and other Arctic communities as examples of Ocean Literacy Principles #5 and #6. Students will learn about the adaptive capabilities of animals and people living in these environments. Students will look at recent climate changes, study the effects of global warming on polar regions such as the Beaufort Sea area, and ultimately understand the interconnectedness of life in these regions with life around the world.
Grades: 6-8
/ Environmental Protection Agency
Students will be introduced to the concept of climate change and the greenhouse effect. Students will learn the common sources of greenhouse gas emissions that humans generate. Students will create a Global Warming Wheel Card which will enable them to see how their own actions generate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming. Students will learn ways that they might reduce their individual, family, school and community’s production of these gases. For more information:
Grades: 6-8
/ Gulf of Maine Research Institute
This activity explores the potential for global climate change to increase the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and storm surges, and the impacts that could result. Students will explain the impact of hurricanes on coastal communities and identify possible trends in economic and human impacts by examining hurricane records. Students will predict impacts on coastal areas if hurricane frequency increases and sea level rises. Students will determine areas that are most vulnerable to hurricane surges by using topographic maps. Students will make and use scale drawings and maps or three-...
Grades: 6-8
/ Gulf of Maine Research Institute
This activity explores the potential for climate variability and change to trigger more frequent occurrences of El Nino, and the impacts that could result. Students will access information at remote sites using telecommunications. Students will identify impacts by reviewing past El Nino events. Students will analyze the data collected and predict what the consequences could be if, as some scientists predict, climate variability and change could create a permanent El Nino.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ Activities for the Changing Earth System with NSF
This group game is designed to help students explore the various aspects of global climate and to learn how human activity may affect climate. Student groups will be responsible for making decisions about activities that may impact global climate. Students will be able to identify the various human impacts on the environment. Students will be able to explain how lifestyles may be altered to become more favorable to the environment. Students will examine the role of individual decisions and their impact on the natural environment.
Grades: 6-8
/ Wild BC
Students will use and describe how a variety of objects provide metaphors for why climate change is occurring and the impacts resulting from it. Students will demonstrate the ability to interpret metaphors, describe the factors contributing to climate change and make connections between human behavior and environmental changes.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ Wild BC
In this activity students are encouraged to consider how climate change could impact them personally and how changes may affect their regions. Students will analyze the roles of organisms as part of interconnected food webs, populations, communities, and ecosystems, assess survival needs and interactions between organisms and the environment, assess the requirements for sustaining healthy local ecosystems evaluate human impacts on local ecosystems.
Grades: 6-8