For Teachers

three teachers sitting on a beach

The NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries aims to provide teachers with resources and training to support ocean literacy in America's classrooms. You will find curriculum, lesson plans and activities that will excite your students about science and technology.


screenshot of the ocean acidification website

Ocean Acidification (OA)

Our carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic, which threatens life in the global ocean. Use these resources to educate yourself and others to take action. Or watch science lectures on the topic of OA and download education resources for the high school classroom. 

illustration of fishing boats

Voices of the Bay

Voices of the Bay introduces students to Monterey Bay's rich fishing heritage as well as its relevance and value today. Each of the three instructional modules that make up the Voices of the Bay curriculum may be implemented as stand-alone activities or sequenced, in the order suggested below, as a more comprehensive course of study.

coastal view of a lighthouse

Coastal Ecosystem

The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association has developed a seven-unit Coastal Ecosystem Curriculum for grades 9 - 12 that focuses on the open water and intertidal habitats in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Teachers and educators who attend our teacher workshops receive this curriculum and all associated classroom activities.

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Navigating Change

The Navigating Change Teacher's Guide, "A Teacher's Guide to Navigating Change: An Educational Voyage to Motivate, Encourage and Challenge Us to Take Care of Our Land and Sea," is a 4th - 5th grade standards aligned curriculum focused on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Games, coloring pages and fun activities to help you learn about the national marine sanctuaries.

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Winged Ambassadors

Albatrosses, charismatic and threatened seabirds, are ambassadors for a clean ocean. They traverse vast oceanic regions searching for floating food. Along their journeys, they ingest plastic trash and are hooked in fisheries. These five lessons use inquiry-based science instruction, aligned to standards for grades 6 - 8 with extensions for grades 9 - 12.

stellar sea lion on a buoy

NOAA Ocean Data Education Project

The NOAA Ocean Data Education (NODE) Project is developing curriculum for grades 5-8 designed to help teachers and students use real scientific data to explore dynamic Earth processes and understand the impact of environmental events on a regional or global scale.

Lesson Plans/Units

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Science NetLinks: Marine Sanctuaries

In this lesson, students will learn about the national marine sanctuaries. They include breeding and feeding grounds of whales, sea lions, sharks and sea turtles; significant coral reefs and kelp forest habitats; and the remains of the USS Monitor, a Civil War ironclad sunk off the coast of North Carolina.

photos of starfish on coral

Science NetLinks: Marine Reserves

Ever declining numbers of marine plants and fish are sending ecologists scrambling for better ways to protect the ocean. Some have suggested that marine reserves are the answer. This Science Update looks at the unexpected impact marine reserves have on their surroundings.

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Threats to Ocean Life: Can Marine Sanctuaries Help?

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn about environmental problems in the ocean and how marine sanctuaries can help protect ocean habitats. Students will use National Geographic's Wild World Global 200 feature to learn about marine eco-regions and the environmental problems they are facing.

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Coral Cores: Ocean Timelines

An activity describing the natural and scientific processes involved in paleoclimate research using coral cores obtained from Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.


illustration of coral spawning

Coral Spawning Globe

Create a model of the mass coral spawning that occurs annually, seven to ten nights after the full moon in August and/or September.


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Empty Ocean

How does the human population affect the population of marine species? What can citizens do to sustain seafood populations? Have your students learn more by conducting this grades 6 - 8, standards-based lesson plan.


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Stetson Bank Monitoring Activity

This activity from Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is designed to give students a sense of the real-life science being used to conduct long-term monitoring of habitats in the sanctuary.

diver and a shipwreck

Mock Shipwreck Lesson Plan

This maritime heritage-based lesson plan generates excitement among students and peaks their curiosity about the people who lived and worked along our coasts and the events that shaped who we are today.

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National Marine Sanctuary Lesson Plan

Explore our national marine sanctuaries and learn about habitats and human impacts with this internet research activity.

divers in the water

Rapid Ecological Assessment Lesson

Students will conduct an ecological assessment of a small area on school property and apply findings to the greater area.

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The Land-Sea Connection

This curriculum will increase students' understanding of science and geography.

photo of a girl holding a shark's jaw

At Your School in San Francisco

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary's At Your School programs in San Francisco bring the ocean to your classroom. They have programs for K - 12 that encourage your students to discover the wonder of ocean science without leaving the school grounds.

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Marine Debris Lesson Plan

Students will perform experiments to examine if debris will float, or blow in the wind. The effects of these characteristics on the marine debris are then discussed.

humpback whale feeding

Game of Life

What does overfishing mean? What are the effects of overfishing on fish stocks? This grade 6-8, standards-based lesson plan tackles these difficult questions.

marine debris photo

Honu Survivor

Students will participate in discussions and role-play to learn the hardships of baby Green Sea Turtles. The students will learn about the low survival rate due to natural predators and man.

life on an island

Life on an Island

Students will learn about the evolution of a volcanic island from origin to erosion. They will be able to determine the relative ages of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands given their position in the archipelago.


photo of seastar and rocks

Learn how to create and see samples of program evaluation plans and an environmental education literature review. There are also tools and techniques for evaluation, examples of objectives and goals, an evaluation glossary and an online resource guide to evaluation.

Free Materials

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Ocean Literacy with Each One, Teach One Cards

Teach your students the seven essential principles of ocean literacy with these colorful and engaging cards that can be used following the "Each One, Teach One" methodology.

coastal view of a lighthouse

Explore Nim's Island

The movie "Nim's Island" tells the fictional story of an adventurous girl named Nim, who lives on a remote island in the South Pacific. Check out the fun educational resources related to this movie.

illustration of a puzzle

Seabirds and Shorebirds Activity Book

This activity book teaches students the about the seabirds and shorebirds that live in and migrate to Hawaii (pdf, 3.7MB). You can also visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale kid's page to download fun activities and posters.


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West Coast Field Guide

Learn more about the National Marine Sanctuaries of the West Coast through this downloadable west coast field guide. Explore the habitats, wildlife and culture of these five sanctuaries, and how they are all interconnected by ocean currents. Also discover how to practice daily conservation and get involved.

screen capture of the encyclopedia of the sanctuaries web site

Encyclopedia of the Sanctuaries

In this online guide, you will find photos, streaming video and important biological information for over 100 marine species from each of the national marine sanctuaries in the United States.

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Ocean Adventures Videos

Check out Jean-Michel Cousteau's "Ocean Adventure" as KQED continues to produce short videos appropriate to bring the ocean into your classroom.


coastal view of a lighthouse

Winged Ambassadors: Ocean Literacy Through the Eyes of Albatross Teacher Workshop

Albatrosses, charismatic and threatened seabirds, are ambassadors for a clean ocean. Winged Ambassadors is a set of five lessons that use real data from current research tracking albatross migrations and ocean plastic pollution. The lessons use inquiry-based science instruction, aligned to standards for grades 6 - 8 with extensions for grades 9 - 12.

view of earth

Our Changing Ocean and Estuaries Workshop Series

Do you wonder how climate change will impact the San Francisco Bay Area coastal and estuarine environments and our lives? Learn from local scientists how local estuaries and ocean habitats are being used as laboratories to track and understand climate change. Gain knowledge and tools to implement climate change topics into your curriculum with a focus on our coastal and estuarine habitats.

photo of two girls wearing dive into education tshirts

Dive into Education

Dive into Education ocean science workshop provides teachers with educational expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. Workshops have been held in Hawaii, Georgia and American Samoa. Check out the archive to find out more.

teacher and a student

LiMPETS Teacher Workshops

Are you interested in learning about rocky intertidal and sandy beach monitoring techniques? Would you like to set up a field monitoring site with your students? If so, check out the professional development opportunities we have available.

photo of a turtle on the beach

Animals in Curriculum-based Ecosystem Studies (ACES) Program

Are you interested in tracking ocean animals live in your classroom? ACES is an important, necessary expansion of Signals of Spring, an award-winning, classroom based curriculum program in which students use Earth imagery to explain the movement of animals that are tracked by NOAA's operational satellites. Find out more about the ACES Program, by contacting Jenny Stock.

diver with a school of fish

Coral Reef Workshop and Scuba Diving Adventure for Teachers

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation offers the annual Down Under, Out Yonder (a.k.a. DUOY) workshop for K - 12 and college entry educators nationwide. DUOY is a five-day teacher workshop that includes a two day land-based workshop and three days of scuba diving in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

photo of woman throwing a net in the river

Rivers to Reef Workshops

This week-long teacher workshop led by the Georgia Aquarium and NOAA's Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary staff immerses teachers into the watery world as they learn about watersheds, water quality, current aquatic issues and river, marsh and reef ecosystems. Check out the 2010, 2011 and 2012 mission logs from the workshop.

teacher putting together an rov

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Teacher Workshop

Looking to link technology with ocean exploration and research? During this hands-on workshops, teachers build their own Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from PVC pipe and other materials while learning about ROV technology and its use in research, monitoring and exploration of national marine sanctuaries. These workshops occur at Gray’s Reef, Thunder Bay and Monitor national marine sanctuaries.

student inspecting ocean water

Channel Islands MERITO Academy

The MERITO Academy is a partnership between Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands Marine Resource Institute. The MERITO Academy's goal is to increase students' understanding of coastal and ocean issues through hands-on, in the field and in-class activities while exposing students to careers in science and building pride and stewardship towards their sanctuary and local environments.

shipwreck on the beach

Charting a Course for Maritime Heritage Education

This is a conference that brought together formal and informal educators to promote the sharing of maritime related education partnerships, programs and products.

Field Studies

students and teacher at the sea

Teacher at Sea

Teachers can enrich their classroom curricula with a depth of understanding made possible by living and working side-by-side, day and night, with those who contribute to the world's body of scientific knowledge.

photo of girl in the ocean

Ocean for Life

The Ocean for Life program is an initiative to increase cultural understanding through ocean science. Ocean for Life provides high quality, immersive ocean field studies and follow-on education programs to facilitate cross-cultural learning, appreciation, and lasting experiences between Middle Eastern and Western students.

coastal view of a lighthouse

Ocean Guardian Classrooms

All schools and classrooms in the United States, no matter where they are located, have an impact on the world's single, interconnected ocean. Marine ecosystems are all connected in some way to the places where each of us live. Even if your classroom is thousands of miles from shore, learning to live, work and play in a sustainable way protects your local watershed that eventually drains into the ocean. Promote ocean conservation at your school or in your local community by becoming an Ocean Guardian Classroom.

people gathering water samples from the beach

Environmental Monitoring Not Just for Scientists: LiMPETS

LiMPETS is an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators and volunteer groups throughout California. Approximately 4,000 teachers and students along the coast of California are collecting rocky intertidal and sandy beach data as part of the LiMPETS network. Join us to learn the process of science and help to protect our local marine ecosystems.


teachers and students testing water

NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training Grants (B-WET)

NOAA B-WET is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K - 12 environment. The primary delivery of B-WET is through competitive funding that promotes meaningful watershed educational experiences. B-WET currently serves six areas of the country: California, Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, New England and the Pacific Northwest. Since 2002, NOAA has invested over $50 million to support more than 600 B-WET projects.

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Ocean Guardian Schools

An Ocean Guardian School makes a commitment to the protection and conservation of its local watersheds, the world's ocean and special ocean areas, like national marine sanctuaries. The school makes this commitment by proposing and then implementing a school- or community-based conservation project. Grants range in the amounts of $1,000 - $4,000 per school depending on the level of the project and funding year.