Lesson Plans

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Virginia Scientists & Educators Alliance (VA SEA) Lesson Plans
VA SEA is a network of graduate students, teachers, and informal educators aimed at transferring scientific research into usable lesson plans.
Grade Level:

Aquarius Undersea Research Station Lesson Plans
These lesson plans in life sciences, physical science, chemistry, and engineering link to projects of the Aquarius undersea research station in the Florida Keys. Topics include the impacts of buoyancy, pressure, and light on underwater research; effects of physical oceanography on coral reefs; effects of water temperature on coral/zooxanthellae symbiosis; engineering of AUVs; fish survey techniques; chemical ecology; experimental design and more. Links to Aquarius expeditions and resources for teachers and students.
Grade Level: High school

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Lesson Plans
These very complete and teacher-friendly lesson plans target the New Jersey coast, but most could easily be adapted to other regions. Includes activities and how-to guides for lab and field studies, and other useful resources. Topics include beach morphology, horseshoe and hermit crabs, fish anatomy, mollusks, sea shells, estuaries, currents, seafloor mapping, water quality, oxygen, pH, salinity, plankton, food web, marshes, and more. Plans include: objectives, background information and links to content-related websites, diagrams, student data sheets.
Grade Level: Primary elementary,Intermediate elementary,Middle school,High school

National Estuarine Research Reserve System Lesson Plans
A collection of curricula, lesson plans, and activities about the science, ecology, and natural history of estuaries, developed by some of the National Estuarine Research Reserves. Topics range from habitats like eelgrass meadows, mud flats, salt marshes, and mangrove swamps, to water chemistry and circulation, to geologic settings, to natural and cultural resources, to public policy. Includes lessons for grades K-12, as well as complete modules for middle school and high school.
Grade Level: Primary elementary,Intermediate elementary,Middle school,High school

SEA K-12 Lesson Plans
Award-winning ideas from SEA Semester's educators: over 25 activities and lesson plans for all grade levels on topics in marine biology, coastal ecology, chemical and physical oceanography, seafloor geology, and nautical science. Each plan includes target grades, keywords, introduction and background, advice on how to best integrate the activities into classroom curriculum, instructions and tips, materials list, procedures, suggestions for evaluation, extensions.
Grade Level: Primary elementary,Intermediate elementary,Middle school,High school

Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures for Educators
Classroom activities from Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures PBS program including over 25 lesson plans, 10 Web-original videos, games and interactives, in-depth articles and an image download library. These resources are designed primarily for middle school level and focus on animal adaptations, ecosystems and human impact.
Grade Level: Intermediate elementary, Middle school, High school, General public

Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Coral Reef Education Portal
The Coral Reef Education Portal is a free state-of the-art online learning platform designed to educate people about life on coral reefs. It contains a comprehensive coral reef ecology curriculum with background information, lesson plans, interactive exercises, graphics, photos, videos, worksheets, and quizzes. Try it now to explore custom units on a wide range of topics including classification, anatomy, feeding, and reproduction. You can even create an account to keep track of your scores on quizzes (or the progress of your students), earn badges, and learn at your own pace. Materials can be used sequentially or individually.
Grade Level: Middle School, High School, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, General public

Secrets of the Ocean Realm
Visually appealing site includes background information on ocean organisms, teaching activities, quizzes, and underwater photography and film making. Follow the In The School link for 10 lesson plans. Topics covered include: Gulf of California organisms, open ocean animals, venomous organisms, nocturnal species, whales, sharks, reef creatures, and sea stars. Created as an accompanying resource to the Secrets of the Ocean Realm video series, the information is also useful on its own.
Grade Level: Intermediate elementary,Middle school

Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)
A bounty of lessons, lab activities, and real-time data mining exercises developed in conjunction with teachers participating in the Monterey Bay AquariumÂ’s EARTH summer institutes. Topics span a wide range of topics in marine biology, ecology, geology, chemistry, and physics, as well as ocean policy and satellite and ocean observing systems technology. Lesson plans include learning objectives, key concepts, assessments, and extensions.
Grade Level: Middle school,High school,Graduate or professional

Earth Exploration Toolbook
The award-winning Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET) provides step-by-step instructions for using Earth science datasets and software tools in educational settings. Follow the "Chapters in EET" link for a large collection of lesson plans and activities that engage students in authentic data analysis, many of which relate to ocean science. For middle school, high school, and beyond.
Grade Level: Middle school,High school,Undergraduate lower division,Undergraduate upper division,Graduate or professional

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