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
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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.
Virginia Sea Grant
Hurricanes are powerful storms that can cause devastating damage when they hit the shore. How is it that these storms grow to such impressive sizes? This lesson plan teaches students about how hurricanes form and then probes students to think about how changing conditions are affecting hurricane patterns.
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).
Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
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, and learn about the function of each of their fish’s fins in the process.
In this activity, students will be able to identify major taxa that are dominant in deep benthic communities of the Arctic Ocean. Given distribution data for major taxa in different Arctic benthic communities, students will be able to identify patterns in the distribution of these taxa and infer plausible reasons for these patterns.
In this activity, students will be able to describe how ratios of stable nitrogen isotopes can be used to study trophic relationships between marine organisms, make inferences about trophic relationships between organisms and habitats, and compare and contrast organisms in sea ice, pelagic, and benthic communities in terms of feeding strategies and consequent stable nitrogen isotope ratios.
In this activity, students will be able to identify and explain at least three lines of evidence that suggest the Arctic climate is changing, identify and discuss at least three social, three economic and three environmental consequences expected as a result of Arctic climate change, identify at least three climate-related issues of concern to Arctic indigenous peoples, and identify at least three ways in which Arctic climate change is likely to affect the rest of the Earth’s ecosystems.
In this activity, students will be able to identify the natural processes that produce methane, describe where methane deposits are located in the Arctic region, explain how warmer climates may affect Arctic methane deposits, explain how the release of large volumes of methane might affect Earth’s climate, and describe how methane releases may have contributed to mass extinction events in Earth’s geologic history.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
This lesson investigates how sea ice is critical to the plants and animals that live in the Arctic. Students will learn key terms, including albedo, cryosphere, and forcings. They will also learn about how carbon emissions, sea ice, and food webs are interconnected.
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.
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.