NOAA Explorer Education Materials Collection

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research announces the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection. The Education Vision for the Okeanos Explorer is that this is the ship upon which learners of all ages embark together on scientific voyages of exploration to poorly-known or unexplored areas of the global ocean. Learners will participate in innovative ways as ocean explorers in breakthrough discoveries leading to increased scientific understanding and enhanced literacy about our ocean world.

To help fulfill this vision, the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection is being developed to encourage educators, students, and citizen scientists to become personally involved with the voyages and discoveries of America’s first Federal ship dedicated to Ocean Exploration. Lesson plans in the Collection will focus on three themes: “Why Do We Explore?” (reasons for ocean exploration); “How Do We Explore?” (exploration methods); and “What Do We Expect to Find?” (recent discoveries that give us clues about what we may find in Earth’s largely unknown ocean).

For each of these themes, a Leader’s Guide for Classroom Explorers provides background information, links to resources, and an overview of recommended lesson plans. An Initial Inquiry Lesson for each of the three themes leads student inquiries into key topics and a series of lessons for each theme guide student investigations that explore these topics in greater depth.

The first of these three themes, Why Do We Explore?, is now available on the NOAA Ocean Exploration Web site at:

Lessons for this theme guide classroom inquiries into key topics of Ocean Exploration: Climate Change, Energy, Human Health, and Ocean Health. Please note that while each Okeanos Explorer lesson is targeted toward a specific grade level, most can be adapted for use in other grades as well.

This information was also provided in an online course setting in partnership with the College of Exploration. To access the archives of this Why Do We Explore? online educator professional development, please login at:

Gulf of Mexico Education Materials from NOAA

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) announces
Lessons from the Deep: Exploring the Gulf of Mexico’s Deep-Sea Ecosystems Education Materials Collection

Between 2001 and 2009, NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research (OER) sponsored eleven 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 that exploded earlier this year. Each of these expeditions was documented with an extensive Web site that included lesson plans for educators at grade levels 5 through 12. OER’s 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. The purpose of this collection is to provide a foundation for student inquiries into deep-sea ecosystems, and to build capabilities for comparing data from OER expeditions with post-event information as the latter information becomes available.

The Gulf of Mexico Deep-Sea Ecosystem Education Materials Collection is comprised of an Educators’ Guide,, providing background information, as well as 16 associated lesson plans. Additional lessons and activity guides will be added to the Collection as more information is produced from ongoing exploration and research activities in the Gulf of Mexico. Lessons included in this collection touch on a wide variety of topics related to physical science, life science, and Earth science, and offer many opportunities for cross-curricular activities involving social studies, language arts, mathematics, and fine arts. In addition to formal lesson plans, Web pages for most OER expeditions include a variety of background essays as well as photo and video collections. These materials may be used in a variety of ways to enhance class discussions and student research.

New NOAA Education Website

To better connect educators and students who are interested in NOAA’s education and science resources, NOAA has just completed a major update of the agency’s primary education resource portal,  This website serves as a portal to lesson plans, educational multi-media, data sources, career profiles, and other education content from across the agency. The content is centered on five thematic areas that highlight NOAA science and stewardship: Oceans and Coasts, Climate, Weather and Atmosphere, Marine Life, and Freshwater. Under each theme are topical resource collections that support common teaching topics and align with state and national science education standards.   The update to this website is based on research about what educators need for in their classrooms to teach science and stewardship. Input was gathered from educators on a national and local level to create a blueprint for this new format.

Follow NOAA Lost Ships Expedition

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Launches Thunder Bay 2010: Cutting Edge Technology and the Hunt for Lake Huron’s Lost Ships Expedition August 16 – 27, 2010. The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) announces the launch of the Thunder Bay 2010: Cutting Edge Technology and the Hunt for Lake Huron’s Lost Ships Expedition Web page on its Ocean Explorer Web site at This Expedition posting includes daily logs, videos and images, an Ocean Explorer Expedition Education Module, lesson plans, an “Ask an Explorer” feature and much more.

NOAA Expedition Education Module

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Exploration and Research Program has launched the Bioluminescence 2009: Living Light on the Deep Sea Floor Expedition Web page on its Ocean Explorer website

Educators working with scientists from the Bioluminescence 2009: Living Light on the Deep Sea Floor Expedition developed an Ocean Explorer Expedition Education Module (EEM) for the mission. Designed for teachers of students in Grades 5-12, the EEM offers an Expedition Purpose, Lessons tied to the National Science Education Standards and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts, Interactive Multimedia Components for students, OceanAGE Career Connections, and Other Resources and Links to help educators bring the excitement behind the Living Light on the Deep-Sea Floor Expedition into their classrooms.

Web logs, written by educators and scientists that capture daily activities and discoveries, complete with compelling video and images, will be posted within 24 hours of their receipt from the explorers on the Ocean Explorer Bioluminescence 2009: Living Light on the Deep Sea Floor Expedition website. An “Ask an Explorer” feature will also be available for students to submit questions to, and receive answers from, the explorers during the expedition.