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

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...

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...

A package containing lessons, worksheets, and activities to teach young students about sustainable seafood. Each subject has two levels: one for grades K-2 (key stage 1) and another for grades 3-5...

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.

/ California Academy of Sciences
Students will learn via experimentation that ice formations on land will cause a rise in sea level when they melt, whereas ice formations on water will not cause a rise in sea level when they melt. Students will learn that ice is less dense than water and that ice displaces water equal to the mass of the ice.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ The Ocean and You
A kit you can create to help your students understand the impacts of the Gulf Of Mexico oil spill. Easily contained in a box so clean up is easy...as compared to oil spills in real life!
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
/ NOAA Ocean Service Education
How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill? As you will learn from this Discovery Story, the answer is not simple. It isn't easy to determine whether a particular area of shoreline has recovered from oil during a spill, or how to expect it to look when it has.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ Monterey Bay Aquarium
Learn how scientists collect field data by being a scientist yourself! By studying a specific ecosystem, students learn how different scientists work together, what kinds of data scientists record, and experience the scientific process through observation and data collection.
Grades: 6-8, 9-12
/ National Geographic Xpeditions
This lesson introduces students to latitude and longitude. They will look at lines of latitude and longitude on a United States map and discuss the reasons why these lines are helpful. Students will also discuss the ways that temperatures vary with latitude and will explain the clothes they might wear at specific latitudes.
Grades: K-2
/ National Geographic Xpeditions
Students will learn about the characteristics of the Arctic and Antarctic by looking at a globe and pictures of the polar landscape/animals. They will plan a vacation to one of these regions and draw pictures or write stories depicting themselves on the trip.
Grades: K-2
/ National Geographic Xpeditions
Students will pretend they have just returned from a year in the Arctic or Antarctic. By exploring web sites about expeditions to these regions and creating posters illustrating what they could have seen or done, students will have a better understanding of what life would be like in Polar Region without actually visiting them.
Grades: 3-5
/ National Geographic Xpeditions
It's common to confuse characteristics of the Arctic and the Antarctic, and many people have never learned the differences between these two regions. In this lesson, students will research the landscapes, climates, and animal life of the Polar Regions. They will then interview people to find out what they think and know about the regions. They will conclude by writing paragraphs explaining why it's important to know about the Polar Regions and detailing the differences between the two regions.
Grades: 6-8
/ National Geographic Xpeditions
The Polar Regions are frequently neglected in discussions of the environment, but they shouldn't be. The environment of the Polar Regions is particularly susceptible to human impacts such as pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer. Moreover, the effects of global warming on the Polar Regions are likely to have major repercussions in the rest of the world.
Grades: 9-12
/ Discovery Education
This lesson investigates the plants and animals that live in the Arctic. Students will learn key terms, including food web, zooplankton, and sea ice. They will also devise food chains found in the Arctic, these will then be expanded to food webs, showing the connections among all Arctic life.
Grades: 6-8