Cold Seeps


These selected lessons were developed by scientists and educators to demonstrate key concepts related to cold seeps. For more lessons, search the full lesson archive.

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 . Note: The links provided in lessons are verified at the time of publication, but over time, may change or become obsolete.

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5-6 7-8 9-12

Grades 5-6

Animals of the Fire Ice (pdf, 581 KB)

Focus: Methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp (Life Science)

Students will define and describe methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp; infer how methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp obtain their food; and infer how methane hydrate ice worms and hydrate shrimp may interact with other species in the biological communities of which they are part. Activity includes building a methane hydrate model.

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Let's Make a Tubeworm (pdf, 552 KB)

Focus: Unique species with a symbiotic relationship in cold seep communities. (From the Learning Ocean Science through Ocean Exploration curriculum, Lesson 18, Pg 141.)

Students will describe the process of chemosynthesis in general terms and describe the major features of cold seep communities; define mutualistic symbiosis and give two examples of symbiosis in cold seep communities; and be able to describe the anatomy of vestimentiferans and explain how these organisms obtain their food.

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Grades 7-8

Strange Life (pdf, 407 KB)

Focus: Biological organisms in cold seep communities

Students will obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about flows and cycles of energy in cold seep ecosystems; develop a model that describes some of the interdependent relationships in cold seep ecosystems; and develop and use a model to explain states and changes between states of methane hydrates.

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Grades/Grados 9-12

What’s the Big Deal? (pdf, 1.9 MB)

Focus: Significance of methane hydrates (Earth Science)

Students will define methane hydrates, describe where these substances are typically found, and explain how they are believed to be formed. Students will describe at least three ways in which methane hydrates could have a direct impact on their own lives and describe how additional knowledge of methane hydrates expected to be found during NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research expeditions could provide human benefits.

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¿Cuál es el problema? (pdf, 497 MB)

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This Old Tubeworm (pdf, 351 KB)

Focus: Growth rate and age of species in cold seep communities (Life Science)

Students will be able to explain the process of chemosynthesis and explain the relevance of chemosynthesis to biological communities in the vicinity of cold seeps. Students will be able to construct a graphic interpretation of age-specific growth given data on incremental growth rates of different-sized individuals of the same species and be able to estimate the age of an individual of a specific size.

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Watching in 3-D

Focus: Multibeam sonar (Physical Science/Earth Science)

Students will explain how multibeam sonar uses the properties of sound waves in water for scientific research about topography of the ocean floor. Students will analyze and interpret multibeam sonar data to identify patterns in the distribution of seafloor features that contribute to scientific research about large scale interactions in Earth’s systems. Students explore a seamount using free Fledermaus mapping software.

To supplement this lesson, the following activities describe how geographical and mapping data marry with expedition website data and selected interactive Fledermaus scene files from key discoveries:

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Observando en 3D (pdf, 415 KB)

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The above items are only a selection of the educational materials highlighting cold seeps on our website.

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