Kelp Forest Ecosystems
Lesson Plans & Activities

This collection of lesson plans and activities for students includes engaging materials to allow anyone to gain a better understanding of Kelp Forest Ecosystems, their importance, the animals that call them home, and the dangers they face.

Magnified phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, is depicted here before a blue background. The body of the phytoplankton is bright green and the tail is black.

An Ocean of Oxygen Producers

This lesson focuses on how marine photosynthetic organisms contribute oxygen to our atmosphere. Students will research and present about a marine organism that photosynthesizes and consider the importance of those organisms as historic and current contributors to atmospheric oxygen.

Exploring Marine Sanctuaries

Students learn about the National Marine Sanctuary System by researching their habitats, species, physical features and cultural importance. Students will understand there is a tremendous diversity of ocean environments and life forms.

Students monitor a rocky intertidal community with a quadrat at a national marine sanctuary in California.

Tidal Tales: Monitoring Marine Life

Students will learn techniques scientists use to measure species abundance in rocky intertidal and subtidal zones in national marine sanctuaries. Students will consider the environmental conditions that influence species occurrence and abundance and why it is important to monitor these sensitive habitats.

aerial view of the South Farallon Islands

Ocean Guardian Dive Club: Greater Farallones Lesson

This lesson introduces students to Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California. Students will learn about Kelp Forest Ecosystems interactions and how they can be impacted by changing ocean conditions. Students will also learn about ways some marine protected areas address this threat. Use the Kelp Forest Ecosystems Food Web and Monitoring Survey worksheets that go along with this lesson plan.

urchins on the deck of a ship

Kelp Forest Keystone Species Game

This matching game allows students to exercise their knowledge of keystone species within kelp species.

leather star in a kelp forest

Watershed Academy Activity Guide

In this activity you will learn about ways that scientists monitor habitats in the marine environment of the Channel Islands and will be able to apply what they have learned to monitoring their own field study site.


Kelp Distance Learning Programs with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Take a virtual dive in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary kelp forests. Learn about some of the animals that call this incredible ecosystem home! Submit a request for someone to present to your classroom.