Ocean Curriculum Catalogue

Environmental Educators!
Looking for activities, lesson plans, science projects or marine species resources for the classroom? Our Curriculum Catalog provides a comprehensive list of links to educational content, lesson plans, and educational activities for kindergarten through secondary programs.

(last updated September 11, 2022)

Schmidt Ocean Institute Education Resources
Check out Schmidt's favorite lessons and resources to help educators and their students learn about the ocean and marine careers.

Our Ocean / Our Health
Maine.gov curriculum module examines several key human connections to the ocean. Topics include activism/advocacy, climate change, ecosystems, nature, and social awareness. It will show students how to make a difference, how to understand the science and our relationship with the ocean, and ends with journaling and a community service art activity. For grades 9-12

Aquarius - Sea Surface Salinity from Space
Their goal? To demonstrate how improved understanding of salinity-driven circulation – and its influence on climate and the water cycle – can benefit student learning. Their "Salinity Patterns & the Water Cycle" resources are aligned with the National Science Education Standards for Physical Science. Grades K - 12.

Blue Economy: Wave of the Future
Wave of the Future: Canada’s Sustainable Blue Economy is an interactive teaching resource from the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE). Topics include Discovering the Blue Economy; Feeding the World; Energy; Ocean Observation and Conservation; Blue Careers, and more. These recommendations can be adapted for classrooms around the world. Available in English and French.

Bridge: Sea Grant Ocean Sciences Education Center
Follow the red and green channel markers to Lesson Plans, Real-Time Data Sources and Activities, Teaching Tips and more! Find links to thousands of curriculum units and lesson plans on the web categorized by grade level and ocean science topic.

Coral Reef Ecosystem Resource Collection
Explore this collection of NOAA webinars, lesson plans, posters, videos, infographics, virtual reality and more to learn about coral reef ecosystems provided thanks to the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ efforts within the sanctuary system to preserve them and limit the impacts they face.

Classroom Antarctica
A comprehensive online teaching resource with lesson plans aimed at grades 3 to 8. Ideas contained in Classroom Antarctica will stimulate interest in real-world applications for science, mathematics and studies of society and environment.

CLEAN | Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network
A reviewed collection of educational resources coupled with the tools to enable an online community to share and discuss teaching about climate and energy science. Learn how you can build your students’ understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science.

Climate Change Education
Stanford University has developed a curriculum to get students thinking about climate and weather, their own connection to climate change, and the implications of climate change on the physical world. Plans include sea level rise, carbon dioxide emissions, ice core data, global action, local solutions, and mitigation strategies. This site provides introduction overviews for high school curriculum and middle school curriculum (pdf).

Climate Recovery, A Pathway
Developed by our friends at Our Childrens Trust, the Pathway to Climate Recovery presentation is designed for distribution to schools, educators, students, and other groups for use in support of deeper conversations about climate recovery and the remedy being requested in the 2018 Juliana v. U.S. lawsuit. Download a copy here.

Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum
In mid-2016 the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation launched their Education Portal, an online platform containing their comprehensive coral reef ecology curriculum complete with lesson plans, quizzes, videos, and interactives designed to educate people about the importance of coral reefs. This a free resource and is aligned to the US Common Core, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the Ocean Literacy Principles.

Discovery of Sound in the Sea
DOSITS provides information on the basic science of sound in the sea, how both people and animals use sound underwater, and the effects of sound on marine life. In addition to in-depth science content, there are galleries and educational resources that provide a wealth of information for educators and students alike.

Dive and Discover: Ships at Sea
Students are at the frontline of scientific inquiry as they join geologists, chemists and biologists exploring the seafloor and making amazing new deep sea discoveries. Daily updates, live video feeds, archive video footage, and email correspondence with scientists from these research vessels allow students to follow the progress of the scientific missions and find out about life on the floating laboratories at sea.

Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)
EARTH is a public education outreach site that provides lesson plans for teachers using near real time data from the ocean observatory. Unit lesson plan topics include ocean observatories, pelagic predators, classification, iron fertilization and coastal processes. Lesson plans are matrixed via skills or standards and contain wonderful background information including links to current oceanic news stories and research.

El Niño Theme Page
Graphic images and animations facilitate learning about El Niño. Teachers and students can access the latest El Niño forecasts and measurements which include global sea surface temperature, equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature, and tropical Pacific buoy data. These datasets can be used in the classroom for graphing and data analysis activities. Appropriate for students in grades 10 -12.

Encyclopedia of Life | Lesson Plans
Bring biodiversity into your classroom with lesson plans and activities from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). Th plans are aligned to Next Gen Science Standards and also contain content multimedia resources.

EPA's Environmental Education Center
Find curricula and activities on water (including oceans, rivers and watersheds), air, ecosystems, recycling, conservation, and human health. In addition, you will also find links to education grants, awards, scholarships, workshops and community service projects.

Estuary Education | National Estuarine Research Reserve System
The Estuaries 101 Curriculum deepens students understanding about estuaries and how estuaries affect their daily lives. Estuaries offer an exciting context for learning about math, geography, chemistry, marine science, among other fields. Designed to be used by teachers in grades 6-12.

Global Climate Change, A Student's Guide
EPA-developed guide will help students and educators with clear, accurate information about the causes and effects of climate change and the steps we can all take to help solve the problems. Site includes Lesson Plans, Tools and Tips for Educators, and Additional Web Resources.

The Global Education Project
Educational wall charts, graphics and maps available for environmental and earth science educators. Topics include impacts of climate change, animals affected by climate and at risk of extinction, global ecology, fresh water, pollution, and more.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute
A collection of over 100 pages of information and classroom activities covering: oceans, human impact, weather, satellite imagery, remote sensing, Antarctica, global climate change, lobsters, turtles, freshwater issues, and more.

JASON Project
An educational project begun by Dr. Robert D. Ballard (discoverer of the wreck of the RMS Titanic) dedicated to enabling teachers and students all over the world to take part in global explorations using advanced interactive telecommunications.

Kelp Forest Resource Collection
Lesson plans and activities to allow anyone to gain a better understanding of kelp forest ecosystems, their importance, the species that call them home, and the dangers they face.

Kelp Forest Elementary Collection
The best educational materials compiled for elementary school audiences.

MARE | Marine Activities, Resources & Education
In-depth, kit-based curriculum units delivering science content correlated to the NGSS.  The curriculum provides opportunities for students to engage in investigations and make evidence-based explanations. They are designed in accordance with the latest research on learning. Classroom-tested by teachers across the United States in a wide variety of settings. For science education K–12.

Marine Debris (NOAA Office of Response & Restoration)
Educators can download an assortment of puzzles, brain-teasers, coloring activities, and formal curricula including marine debris monitoring toolkits for grades 1-12. All marine debris curricula and activities are available for download and print.

Marine Debris (Washed Ashore Project | Integrated Arts)
The Washed Ashore Project uses art to communicate about the health of the ocean. They share curriculum and resources on ways to educate students about plastic pollution in the ocean and in waterways and to spark positive change in consumer habits. Curriculum topics include active collaborative projects, use of visual elements and principles, the science of plastics, lessons on oceanography and ocean-based transport, lessons on prevantative behavior, social science and language art reflection, and much more.

Marine Environmental Education:
The Eastern African Region

A Schoolteacher’s Guide

This publication was prepared by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam, as part of the ongoing broader concept within the framework of UNEP's Regional Seas Programme and the Eastern African Action Plan aimed at enhancing the quality of the marine and coastal environment in partnership with coastal communities and their governments in the eastern African region. This beautifully illustrated comprehensive guide with suggested activities is relevant to classrooms around the world!

This site provides upper-level, in-depth content for a variety of meteorology topics and includes a multimedia database and multi-lingual modules. Lesson plans are available for middle and high school level.

National Geographic Ocean Education
Bring engaging and important ocean learning to the classroom. These resources will help students learn about ocean life, human interactions with the ocean, the ocean’s physical geography: the information necessary to formulate their own opinions on ocean-related environmental issues.

National Geographic Xpeditions
The lesson plans on this site were written by educators and have been tested in the classroom. Together, they address all of the U.S. National Geography Standards, the five geography skills, and the main geographic perspectives. Lesson plans are arranged by grade level and skill set. Examples of lesson plans include: Using Maps in Ocean Research (6-8), Pilot Whale's Place in the Ocean and The Water Column, Where do Ocean Animals Belong? (3-5), and The Aral Sea: What\'s Happening to Whom? (9-12).

National Marine Sanctuaries Teacher Programs
The National Marine Sanctuary Program aims to provide teachers with resources and training to support ocean literacy in America\'s classrooms. Lesson plans, exciting activities for students, possible research projects, and extensive background information for teachers. Grades 3-12.

Navigation Education | Outreach Initiatives
These materials will facilitate the introduction of navigation to middle school curricula. Modules include lessons on a variety of navigation topics and are designed to be used by middle school teachers on their own or with the assistance of an ION member volunteer. They can be used in the classroom or as part of a club or outreach program.

Next Generation Science Standards
Through a collaborative, state-led process, new cross-disciplinary K–12 science standards are being developed that will be rich in content to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS will be based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. A draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are ready for public review.

NOAA Ocean Explorer Education
Providing a variety of learning and teaching tools designed to engage broad audiences and enhance America’s environmental literacy through the excitement of ocean discovery. Follow ocean explorations in near real-time, access related lesson plans for grades 5-12, learn about ocean exploration technologies, observe remote marine flora and fauna in the multimedia gallery, and discover additional NOAA resources in their virtual library.

National Ocean Service (NOS)
NOAA's National Ocean Service is an innovative resource designed to introduce high school students to the breadth of scientific research, technology, and activities conducted by NOAA in the areas of oceans, coasts, charting and navigation. Within the NOS Discovery Center, students and teachers will find Discovery Kits, Discovery Stories, and the Discovery Classroom, theme-based units of study with downloadable lesson plans that connect to real-time data being collected in the field. NOS is a great example of how to incorporate data into lessons and use real science in a technology-adapted classroom.

National Ocean Service Education Discovery Center
Building ocean, coastal, and climate literacy for students and educators, this site is full of lessons, stories, and activities sure to keep your students' attention.

Ocean Bites (a K-12 Resource)
Started by graduate students at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, the goal of OceanBites is to make cutting edge research accessible to all. Contributors meet this goal by explaining recent oceanographic research in a way that non-experts can understand. OceanBites also highlights classic, seminal research papers, and features op-eds about current research and what it's like to be a grad student in oceanography.

Ocean Climate: An Educational Resource Packet
Carbon Emissions, the Ocean Carbon Cycle, Polar Melt, Ocean Currents, Extreme Weather, Ocean Acidification: this free 19-page resource packet was developed by World Ocean Observatory for our subscription-based service of audio-visual material. Here you will find information and links to online resouces on the aforementioned topics. This is a companion piece to our original and curated programming for our first module Ocean Climate but serves as a stand-alone resource, too.

Ocean Explorer
NOAA's Ocean Explorer site offers over 140 lesson plans, numerous professional development opportunities for educators, and an explanation of ocean careers. It contains video clips and images from 5 years of NOAA oceanic research expeditions. It is not only breathtaking to investigate, but this site has a wealth of information and incredible resources to teach from, enjoy and share.

Ocean Literacy Framework
The Ocean Literacy Framework is comprised of two consensus documents: Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles of Ocean Sciences K-12 (also known as the Ocean Literacy Principles); and Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K-12 (also known as the Scope & Sequence).

Oceans: A Fact Haiku | ArtsEdge Curricula, Lessons & Activities
Oceans: A Fact Haiku lesson plan intends for students in Grade 3 to write about the ocean using all five senses in the Haiku style of poetry. The lesson presents an overview; suggests length of time and grade level; cites subjects and subtopics; lists dimensions of learning and intelligence being addressed; notes equipment and materials needed; lists teacher and general resources; and cites relevant National Standards for Arts Education and other standards.

The Ocean Adventure
Offers school assembly programs complete with a set of thematic, multi-disciplinary curriculum materials. Choose from the following program topics: animal adaptations, manatees, sharks, whales, kelp forests, coral reefs, volcanoes, or ocean careers & technology, Grades K-8.

The Ocean Drilling Program
The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) consists of research into the history of the ocean basins and the nature of the crust beneath the ocean floor. This web site can be used in an upper level secondary education science classroom to learn about oceanographic science processes. Students can learn about laboratory equipment and the types of research which are conducted on board the research vessels. Science teachers can also use the resources at this web site for mapping activities with their students.

OceanWorld – Bringing the Ocean to the Classroom
Supported by NASA through the TOPEX/Poseidon Education Project, this site has educational information and classroom activities on oceans & climate, El Niño, ice ages, fisheries, waves, icebergs and currents.

Pacific Salmon Educational Resources
An incredible journey: A series of educational resources about Pacific salmon including curriculum for grades 4 and 5, a board game and a children's  book all to promote salmon stewardship. Provided by Fisheries NOAA.

Secrets of the Ocean Realm
From PBS Online, contains information, teaching activities, quizzes, photography and more. Activities designed for grades 5-7 (with extensions for lower and higher grades).

Telemetry to the Rescue
Sealtag.org has a wealth of information for educators and students on remote monitoring (telemetry) and marine mammals as well as a hands-on STEM curriculum for 6th-12th grades aligned to Ocean Literacy Principles and Science Content Standards.

Topex/Poseidon Satellite
Teachers and students can learn how TOPEX/POSEIDON maps ocean surface topography and how oceanographers use ocean topography to monitor ocean currents and compute the ocean's heat budget. Many of the resources at this web site can be incorporated into secondary science curricula. The Educational Resources section contains an online tutorial which presents ideas on how to incorporate the TOPEX/Poseidon data into the classroom. This tutorial can be used effectively as a stand alone tutorial for secondary students in a networked computer lab. Many sections of the tutorial contain images which can be used by teachers as presentation materials to explain oceanographic science processes and concepts.

Toxic and Harmful Algal Blooms
Activities Page

These activities will help your students gain a better understanding of toxic and harmful algal blooms. Each module consists of background content material and related standards-based activities.

Water School STEAM Curriculum (for ages 6-14)

The Water School in Southwest Morocco combines art, engineering, science, and mathematics (STEAM) learning through the exploration of water, sustainability, conservation, and environmental challenges. The Water School  follows three main themes, organized in this curriculum as units: basic ecology, the uses and sources of water, and enviromental stewardship.

Water Science for Schools
The latest education-based web site developed by Howard Perlman of the US Geological Survey, Water Resources Division. This site is available for all students and anyone who wants to find out more about the many aspects of water from what it is to how we use it. Topics range from water’s basic properties, the many forms of water on and in the Earth, acid rain, how urbanization affects the water system, water use charts, maps and data and much more. An interactive activity center lets students test their water knowledge, and compare their answers to surveys with those of other students around the country.

EPA Drinking Water and Ground Water Program
Online curriculum guide for grades K-12 with topics including watersheds, the water cycle and non-point source pollution.

Whales: A Deep Dive Into the Ocean Ecosystem with the Giants
A learning tool about whales, interconnected species and organisms, climate change and humanity. A Cape Breton University senior seminar community action project. Modules include anatomy, benefits, species and geography, tipping points, citizen science, future research, and much much more.

Whale Sense
Marine mammal resources for teachers and students.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Curriculum

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