Ocean Literacy

NEOSEC & Ocean Literacy

NEOSEC has a collective goal of increasing Ocean Literacy. We recognize that understanding the ocean is integral to a thriving, resilient, and sustainable region. Ocean Literacy has been identified as a key goal for New England with an emphasis placed on leveraging our extraordinary assets to highlight the vital connections between people and the ocean.

Please use the Ocean Literacy pages to understand more, discover how science standards can be taught through the lens of Ocean Literacy, and find curriculum examples.

Check out the Essential principles.

What is Ocean Literacy?

Ocean literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.

An ocean-literate person:

  • understands the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts about the ocean;
  • can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and
  • is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.

ocean_lit_brochure_icon1This definition, the Essential Principles, and supporting Fundamental Concepts were developed through a community-wide consensus-building process led by NGS, NOAA, COSEE, College of Exploration, and NMEA. This effort built on previous work to define ocean literacy, assess what the public knows about the ocean, and redress the lack of ocean-related content in state and national science education standards, instructional materials, and assessments.

The Essential Principles are the 7 most important ideas about the ocean that all students should understand by the end of high school. The 7 Essential Principles are supported and explained by 45 Fundamental Concepts.

Visit our pages for each Essential Principle and their associated Fundamental Concepts. Please also visit the national OSL website for more information. In addition, the National Marine Educators Association Special Report on Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence has been released. You can access a web-based version of the scope and sequence charts and also read extracts from the NMEA Special Report online.

Download the Ocean Literacy brochure. [pdf]

Connecting Ocean Literacy to NGSS Standards

Alignment of Ocean Literacy Framework to the NGSS for grades:

K – 2

3 – 5

Middle School 

High School

The above documents were developed by the National Marine Educators Association Ocean Literacy Committee. Special acknowledgement goes to the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley for leading the development and supporting the final editing and design. The following individuals made significant contributions:  Lincoln Bergman (Lawrence Hall of Science), Scott Carley (College of Exploration), Catherine Halversen (Lawrence Hall of Science), Kurt Holland (Seventh Generation Advisors), Beth Jewell (West Springfield High School), Lisa Klofkorn (Lawrence Hall of Science), Diana Payne (Connecticut Sea Grant), Sarah Pedemonte (Lawrence Hall of Science), Sarah Schoedinger (NOAA), Craig Strang (Lawrence Hall of Science), Lynn Tran (Lawrence Hall of Science), Peter Tuddenham (College of Exploration), Emily Weiss (Lawrence Hall of Science), Jim Wharton (Seattle Aquarium), Lynn Whitley (USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and Sea Grant)

Promoting Ocean Literacy

NEOSEC members have agreed to adapt their organizational efforts to include Ocean Literacy principles and concepts directly, as content for new programs and/or for existing ones. In addition, the biannual NEOSEC Summit serves to introduce Ocean Literacy concepts and tools to New England teachers, scientists, educators, policymakers, and science and education writers.

The Ocean7 Voyage of Discovery is a NEOSEC project designed to take you on a voyage around New England to discover how you are connected to the ocean.