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Online Ocean Education Resources for Students

Find links to online educational resources compiled by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

Table of Contents

Overview

To help provide access to home-based learning resources, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) compiled a collection of online ocean and coastal education materials. These virtual learning environments include online curricula, games, quizzes, and cyber explorations accessible from home—many of which were developed for the COVID-19 school closures and continue to offer new and updated resources for remote and supplemental learning. CZM thanks all of the organizations that are working hard to make resources like these available!

Curricula/Educational Programs

These online resources, listed alphabetically, provide comprehensive lesson plans and other materials for distance learning opportunities.

Extracurriculars

The following websites offer an assortment of lab experiments, activities, stories, games, and quizzes for the younger (and sometimes older) generations.

  • American Museum of Natural History - The Museum’s online science website, OLogy, provides games, stories, and hands-on activities on science subjects such as ocean pollutionhurricanes, and sea turtles, and the learn-at-home Curriculum Collections lists lessons, activities, articles, and videos on topics ranging from ecology disruptions to online field journals.
  • Center for Coastal Studies - This Provincetown-based center features quizzes and activitiessimple experiments, and video presentations to help engage and inform kids of all ages about coastal and ocean ecosystems. Students can test their knowledge on humpback whales, create a mini oil spill cleanup response, and watch presentations on horseshoe crabs, northern elephant seals, manta rays, and more.
  • National Geographic Kids - Specifically created for ages 6 and up, this comprehensive website offers photos, videos, facts, games, quizzes, and more on topics related to National Geographic magazine. Here kids can find information on animals (like the beluga whalejellyfish, and octopus), videos of science lab experiments (such as making an ocean in a bottle), and a whole suite of pages dedicated to saving the Earth. Don’t forget to visit the Massachusetts page for information about the Bay State’s history, geography, and natural resources.
  • Ocean Awareness Resources - The Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs website features a Resource Studio with articles, videos, quizzes, podcasts, and more on the climate crisis and ocean conservation. Students can also find (and help create) inspirational collections of professional and student visual art, interactive media, films, music, poetry, and prose that creatively communicate ecosystem issues and solutions.
  • Ocean Today Videos - Originally designed for a multimedia kiosk in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, this NOAA video series about the ocean realm is now offered online for all to experience. With more than 360 free videos, students can explore shipwrecks and volcanoes, learn about the perils of tsunamis, hurricanes, and rip currents, discover interesting marine life, and expand their knowledge about the ongoing research and efforts to protect life in the ocean. For an in-person experience, Ocean Today kiosks are still available at dozens of aquariums, museums, and learning centers throughout the world—check out the kiosk map to find the nearest location. To be alerted to new Ocean Today content and timely themes, subscribe to the "Every Full Moon" monthly bulletin.
  • Outward Explorers - This Facebook page offers daily activity guides for families, including scavenger hunts, mindfulness sessions, creature features, and nature explorations. 
  • Planet Arcade Games - This NOAA web page has links to dozens of free online computer games, many with a coastal connection. See if you can help protect loggerhead sea turtles and habitats, make policies to promote resilient coastal communities, or help save a beach from bacterial contamination.
  • Remote Polar Learning Resources - Brought to you by Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, in partnership with Reach the World and Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, these remote resources offer learning activities, live virtual programs, videos, and other multimedia centered around the latest science conducted on an Arctic research expedition. Students can also connect with the MOSAiC expedition each week with MOSAiC Mondays (or sign up to have it delivered via email).
  • Smithsonian Institution - The world's largest museum, education, and research complex is presenting distance learning opportunities as a way to virtually explore science and nature. Discover activities and games on the fun stuff for kids and teens page, participate in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) webcast series, learn all about sharks on the ocean portal, and virtually explore 15 habitats within the museum’s exhibits.
  • STEM Links for Kids at Home - Mystic Aquarium's STEM Mentoring program offers a listing of collections, games, videos, virtual field trips, hands-on activities, e-books, podcasts, and more for kids in grades K-5. Sign up for their e-newsletter for theme highlights, such as The Ocean.
  • Water Protection Worksheets and Activities - The New England Water Environment Association’s Giveaways, Presentation Tools, and Supplemental Materials page provides a library of free, downloadable activities and worksheets that cover water quality, water conservation, wastewater treatment, and other topics critical to the protection of water resources. Presentation resources for teachers and parents are also available for grades K-34-8, and 9-12.

Other Online Programs

Check out these resources for speaker series, webinars, podcasts, and virtual field trips.

Virtual Exploration

Another avenue for learning, these virtual sources provide hours of entertainment that comes only second to actually being there.

  • Google Ocean - As part of Google Earth, this ocean layer allows students to explore the depths of the ocean, view content from marine experts, discover surf and dive spots, and even check out 3-dimensional views of shipwrecks like the Titanic.
  • Ocean Portal - Developed by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and more than 20 collaborating organizations, this unique, interactive online source of stories, videos, games, and amazingly beautiful images is devoted to ocean life, ecosystems, and ocean science.

Additional Educational Information from CZM

For information on publications, films/videos, and many other ocean education resources, please refer to CZM’s Massachusetts Coastal and Ocean Education Guide for K-12 Teachers.

In addition, check out these CZ-Tips with information appropriate for students learning about the Massachusetts coast:

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