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.
Haunted by Hurricanes
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.
Trophic relationships in Arctic marine ecosystems
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.
Consequences of Arctic Climate Change
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.
Burp Under the Ice
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.
Where Have All the Glaciers Gone?
Students will describe how climate change is affecting sea ice, vegetation, and glaciers in the Arctic region, explain how changes in the Arctic climate can produce global impacts, and will be able to provide three examples of such impacts. Students will also explain how a given impact resulting from climate change may be considered ‘positive’ as well as ‘negative’, and will be able to provide at least one example of each. Hands-on activity: Make a photocube showing changes in glaciers.
Biomes: Wild Arctic
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.
Introduction to Latitude and Longitude
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.
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!
Global Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
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.