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Students investigate the interconnectedness of the ocean and Earth's physical and human systems through videos, discussions, writing, and mapping. They make personal connections to their own lives and are introduced to the concept of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Protecting the Ocean
MPA Designation and Management
Students explore major marine ecosystems by locating them on maps. Students use marine examples to learn about energy transfer through food chains and food webs. They discuss how food webs can illustrate the health and resilience of an ecosystem.
Mapping Marine Ecosystems
Ocean Abiotic Factors
Marine Food Chains and Biodiversity
Marine Food Webs
Students watch videos to make observations about species, populations, and communities of organisms and discuss their symbiotic relationships. Then they create a hypothetical marine ecosystem and describe the adaptive, trophic, and symbiotic relationships between the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem.
Marine Ecology Video Scavenger Hunt
Marine Ecosystem Invention
Students are introduced to the idea that humans have enormous impacts on marine ecosystems and resources, and explore the stakeholders involved.
Human Impacts on Marine Ecosystems
An Imbalance in our Ocean
This unit was originally created as part of the National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA)—NG Education's signature professional development program for teachers.
Read this article for an introduction to the types and goals of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Read an encyclopedic entry about sections of the ocean where governments have placed limits on human activity.
Find ocean-related entries in our encyclopedia of geography, science, and social studies concepts.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve is one of the largest and most biologically diverse marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world.
With its 1,770-kilometer (1,100-mile) coastline, it is no surprise California has one of the most extensive networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the United States.
Remote and pristine, Cocos Island National Park sits in the Pacific Ocean, 550 kilometers (340 miles) from Costa Rica.
Read an interview with this famous oceanographer and National Geographic explorer.
Read about what inspires marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow Enric Sala.
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for activities, maps, interactives, videos, homework help, and more!