Lesson Plans

This section provides direct access to lesson plans developed by scientists and educators in conjunction with expeditions supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration. These lessons are geared toward students in Grades 5-12. Presented here as web-based education materials, each lesson plan corresponds with a specific ocean exploration and can be supplemented with daily logs prepared by scientists and educators during each mission at sea. Images and video captured in the daily logs provide an invaluable resource for teachers and students as they explore these lessons.

Each lesson includes the following sections: Focus Question, Learning Objectives, Teaching Time, Seating Arrangement, Background Information, a step-by-step Learning Procedure, a “Me” Connection, Connections to Other Subjects, Assessments, Extensions, Resources, Student Handouts, and connections to daily expedition Web logs. Older lessons are aligned to the National Science Education Standards and newer lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards  (and their associated Common Core Standards). All lessons from 2006 to the present also support the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts . Some lessons also have Adaptations for Teachers of Deaf Students.

The web links provided in Lesson Plans are verified at the time of publication, but over time, some links may change or become obsolete. Searching the web with key words may help to locate an updated site.


Search Lesson Plans

To search for a lesson plan on a particular subject, visit this page and type in your search to use the site's Advanced Search Function, enabling you to quickly and easily find the lesson plans you need.


Lesson Plans By Expedition

You can also find lesson plans by expedition. Use the "Find lesson plans" link and then select the expedition you're interested in. You can then click on the "education" link to find lesson plans on that expedition. Lesson plans are not available for all expeditions.


NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer: Education Materials Collection

The Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become personally involved with the voyages and discoveries of the Okeanos Explorer – the only federal vessel dedicated to exploring our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge about the deep ocean.


Learning Ocean Science through Ocean Exploration Curriculum

Learning Ocean Science through Ocean Exploration is an updated curriculum for teachers of Grades 6-12 that takes lesson plans that were developed for NOAA ocean explorations and the Ocean Explorer website and presents them in a comprehensive scope and sequence through subject area categories that cut across individual expeditions. Each lesson focuses on an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning and is correlated to the National Science Education Standards.


Lessons from the Deep: Exploring the Gulf of Mexico’s Deep-sea Ecosystems

Between 2001 and 2009, NOAA Exploration sponsored 11 expeditions to explore deep-sea organisms and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of these sites are within a few miles of the Deepwater Horizon well. Each of these expeditions was documented with an extensive web presence that included lesson plans for educators at grade levels 5 through 12. Our Gulf of Mexico Deep-Sea Ecosystem Education Materials Collection includes a selection of these lesson plans together with new lessons and additional background information about the Deepwater Horizon blowout event.