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.
Featured Lesson Plans
Keeping Watch on Coral Reefs
Students learn why coral reefs are important, and what can be done to protect them from major threats.
Long Live the Sharks and Rays
Students will learn about adaptations that have helped sharks and rays survive. Students will explore similarities and differences between sharks, rays and other fish and that different types of sharks and rays have different temperaments and diets and that some of the largest sharks and rays are the most gentle.
Focus on Farmer Fish
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—the personable farmerfish. Students first take part in an interactive PowerPoint presentation to gain background knowledge and then apply learned concepts by participating in a board game.
Search 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 Dive into Ocean Portal Website
National Museum of Natural History
Join Ocean Portal Editor-in-Chief Emily Frost and museum educators from the National Museum of Natural History as they guide you through the Ocean Portal website, exploring a multitude of digital assets including vetted scientific information, interactive content, and education resources.
What a Day for Ocean Microbes
Ocean Primary Production
NOAA Ocean Explorer
This group of lesson plans focuses on primary production in the ocean via photosynthesizers, like plankton and algae. Students will learn what factors limit primary productivity in the ocean and about other ways ocean organisms produce energy (i.e. chemosynthesis).
Be a Scientist
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.
Prince William's Oily Mess - A Tale of Recovery
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.
Self Contained Gulf Oil Spill Kit
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!
What is El Nino?
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.
Secrets of the Sediments
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.
Fossil Forams and the Scientific Process
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.
It’s Not Just the Core that Tells the Hole Story
Deep Earth Academy/Consotrium for Ocean leadership
Students read about “down-hole logging” technology, in which instruments are lowered from the drilling ship into the hole after cores have been removed to measure physical properties that reveal more about sea floor sediments and rocks. They then examine sample logs to note patterns and interpret the data.