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.

Help us make this site better!  Please provide your comments or suggestions

From Our Collaborators

This extensive guide has everything you need to know for conducting field studies with your students, especially the methods used for scientific field research. Included: why field study is...

Five lessons at increasing levels of sophistication incorporate real data from NOAA to help students understand how sea level is measured and monitored.

Through a case study and related activities, students learn where coral reefs are found and what conditions are necessary for their survival.

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.

/ NOAA
In this activity, students will be able to compare and contrast at least three different groups of organisms that are included in ‘gelatinous zooplankton’, describe how gelatinous zooplankton fit into marine food webs, and explain how inadequate information about an organism may lead to that organism being perceived as insignificant.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
/ NOAA
In this activity, students will be able to compare and contrast the pelagic, benthic and sea ice realms of the Arctic Ocean, name at least three organisms that are typical of each of these three realms, and explain how the pelagic, benthic and sea ice realms interact with each other.
Grades: 3-5
/ NOAA
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.
Grades: 6-8
/ NOAA
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.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA
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.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA
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.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA
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.
Grades: 9-12
/ NOAA
In this activity, students will be able to compare and contrast the feeding strategies of at least three different types of gelatinous zooplankton, and explain why gelatinous zooplankton may function at several trophic levels within a marine food web. Given information on the vertical distribution of temperature in a water column, students will be able to make inferences about potential influences on the distribution of planktonic species in the water column.
Grades: 9-12
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
To help students understand that science is a part of their everyday lives, students will complete an activity where they create a collage of people doing science using magazines and drawing pictures. This lesson gives students a realistic idea of what science is and helps them understand that scientists are real people answering interesting questions.
Grades: K-2
/ Moorea Coral Reef LTER Education
Students will create a class mural depicting coral reefs and act out life on a coral reef through a short skit. This artistic approach to studying the coral reef habitat will engage many types of learners.
Grades: K-2