Lessons from the Ocean: Science on the Water Planet

Target Grade(s): 2-High School


The ocean is critical to the functioning of the Earth system, and is an authentically integrated context for learning about topics such as density, weather and climate, heat transport, environmental issues, biogeochemical cycles, mathematics, and much more. Access a myriad of data sets to apply science concepts and make connections between the ocean and atmosphere, living and nonliving parameters, and life on land, as well as in the deep sea. Use the context of the ocean to teach Next Generation Science Standards topics with deep understanding and meaning for learners.

Course content aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and helps build integrated STEM activities into your science or math classroom, building your confidence in the use of data as a cutting-edge, engaging teaching tool for learning. Participants gain access to a comprehensive web-based resource center on ocean instruction that features lesson plans, activities for students, demonstrations, interactive games and modeling tools, and much more!

Bring the ocean into your classroom by using Earth's waters as a context for standards-based STEM content.

What can I expect from this course?

Participants attend 5 LIVE online sessions in a user-friendly format, which include, but are not limited to the following topics:

Session 1: Topics: Introduction to Ocean Literacy & Teaching Science in the Context of Oceans; Life in the Ocean
Session 2: Topics: Physical Factors in the Ocean & Effects on Living Things
Session 3: Topics: Ocean Adaptations & Marine Life
Session 4: Topic: Weather, Climate, and the Ocean & Using Simple Ocean Data in the Classroom

Participants engage in exciting and meaningful instructional design activities that are directly applicable to each educator's needs. Participants tailor assignments to ensure greatest impact with students. All participants receive access to a comprehensive web-based resource center with carefully selected ocean-literacy resources and marine science activities. Participants become comfortable implementing "ocean instruction" into the classroom and assessing the impacts on teaching and learning. The course is scaffolded to accommodate educators for various levels of student learning.

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Earth's Place in the Universe
Matter and Its Interactions
Earth's Systems
Earth and Human Activity
Engineering Design


Density; Seasonal Changes; Geochemical Cycles such as the Water and Carbon Cycles; Climate & El Nino; Currents, Waves, & Tides; Energy in the Earth System; Diversity of Life; Classification; Life Cycles; Structure & Function; Photosynthesis & Productivity; Autotrophs & Heterotrophs; Food Chains & Food Webs; Nutrient Cycling; Biotic & Abiotic Factors; Ecosystems; Diffusion & Osmosis; Adaptations of Ocean Organisms; Human Impacts on Ecosystems

NGSS Scientific Practices (8 of 8 addressed):

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

What other opportunities may I pursue?

Participants may implement course content and develop a portfolio following the guidelines of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, with the goal of submitting work for National Board Certification.

Educators may seek opportunities to present at conferences, or among colleagues and education community stakeholders. Course instructors and mentors will support your individual goals to become leaders in integrated STEM education.