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Sample Lesson Plans

Below are selected samples from each of our Units of our Marine CSI books. The links will open as PDF files.

Grades K - 2:

  • You Seek, I'll Hide - The simple game of hide-and-seek, but with a food web twist! Predators will hunt for food in either a daytime or nighttime setting. Prey will use key features of their habitats in their hiding techniques. This is great way to learn about adaptation and survival of the fittest. NGSS: K-LS 1-1; 1-LS 1-1; 2-LS 4-

  • Sea Turtle Survival - There are currently seven species of sea turtles in the world, all of which are endangere. Each stage of a sea turtle's life cycle poses some sort of threat, from natural to human. In this interactive game, explore how sea turtles are resilient and how they are susceptible to these threats. NGSS: K-ESS 3-3; 2-LS 4-1


  • S'More Heat - Solar energy is one of many ways we can get electricity without having to burn harmful fossil fuels or deal with the heavy emissions of gasoline. Here, we're crafting our very own solar ovens (that work!) to make s'mores! This is a deliciously fun STEAM activity to explore how climate change is affecting Earth's surface and species. NGSS: K-ESS 2-1; K-ESS 3-3; 2-LS 4-1

Grades 3 - 5:

  • Food Webs: Egyptian Style - In a food web, there are producers, consumers, and decomposers. At each level of the food web, organisms must consume a certain amount of food in order to survive. They need energy to grow, find food, reproduce, and sometimes migrate long distances. This energy flows up the food web and the best way to represent this energy flow is through a pyramid. NGSS: 3-LS 4-3; 5-LS 2-1

  • No Crabbing Around - Horseshoe crabs have been around for over 500,000 years, yet their bodies have not changed much since then. Learning about what makes them so unique and so important to other species, this craft activity demonstrates the similarities and differences to other species of the salt marsh ecosystem. NGSS: 3-LS 4-2; 4-LS 1-1; 5-LS 2-1

  • An Unsettled Matter - Salt marshes are clear-water ecosystems with submerged vegetation. The bottom substrate is usually sand. In this experiment, take a look at sedimentation, when water erodes away soils from the land and washes it into nearby lagoons, and how this affects the survival of these key species of plants. NGSS: 3-LS 4-4; 4-ESS 2-1; 5-ESS 2-1

Grades 6 - 8:

  • Sink or Swim - Water has many properties including density. Freshwater and saltwater have different densities, as does warm and cold water, and so they create the great ocean current conveyor belt around the entire globe. In this experiment, the right amount of salt will change the density of water. NGSS: MS-LS 1-3; MS-ES 2-6


  • Trawling for Shrimp - If you were a shrimp trawler, how would you safely take only shrimp species from the ocean without harming any others? This is a STEM lesson that demonstrates the best way to use bycatch reduction devices, which are places on trawl nets to reduce the number of unwanted species from being taken from the sea. NGSS: MS-LS 2-4; MS-ESS 3-4; MS-ETS 1-4

  • A Bed of Biodiversity - Forests aren't the only ecosystem which contain high biodiversity; eelgrass beds of the salt marsh do as well. In this comparative study, build a diorama of organism for each ecosystem to compare and contract the two. Predator/ prey relationships are also demonstrated in this STEAM activity. NGSS: MS-LS 2-1; MS-LS 2-2

Grades 9 - 12:

  • Catch Me If You Can - Studying populations of species is how government agencies can regulate important national fisheries. Trying to count each individual in a populations of schooling fish is a difficult task, so scientists use the catch and release program to estimate their numbers. This activity shows exact how that process works to keep populations from getting to low. NGSS: HS-LS 2-2; HS-LS 2-7; HS-LS 4-5; HS-LS 4-6


  • Can You Tolerate It? - Salt tolerant plants, or halophilic, can survive in a salt marsh environment because of their ability to withstand periods of high salt intake on incoming tides. In this experiment, three trials with three different amounts of soil will test different plant species on their salt tolerance. NGSS: HS-LS 1-3; HS-LS 2-6; HS-LS 4-2; HS-LS 4-5

  • Debating the Energy Source - There are several ways we can save energy in our homes right now, but this debate takes a look at alternative energy on a larger scale, from our homes to our communities, to our counties and states. Let's discuss how these alternatives can help keep our bills down every month and help keep the environment healthy! NGSS: HS-LS 2-7; HS-ESS 3-2; HS-ESS 3-3; HS- ESS 3-4

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