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Photo: Karen Lane

 
 

Florida’s Coral Reef Lessons and Activities

In Fall of 2021, the Coral Reef Conservation Program released updated lesson plans, materials, and activities for their Coral Reef Education Trunks program (AA 35). These resources have been adapted so that teachers can use them even without a trunk.

 

More activities

Bubble Reef

Grade Level:

K-6
Source: Reef Relief
Activity to teach students about coral reproduction, specifically broadcast spawning.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Bubble%20reef.pdf

Build an Ocean

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students will identify basic mangrove/seagrass/coral reef plants and animals and describe this interrelated ecosystem.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Build%20an%20Ocean.pdf

Coral: What Portion is Alive

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will comprehend the living portion of stony corals are all on the exterior non-attached surface.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20-%20What%20portion%20is%20alive.pdf

Coral Reef Coloring Sheets

Grade Level:

K-2
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Students can learn about corals, reefs, and the animals that live there by completing these coloring sheets.
Find More: https://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/education/coloring_sheets.html

Critter Collage

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in shallow coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/collage.pdf

Critter Collage II

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in deep coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/deepcollage.pdf

The Edible Coral Polyp

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will review the parts of a coral polyp by building an edible coral polyp model.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/The%20Edible%20Coral%20Polyp.pdf

Egg Carton Coral

Grade Level:

K-6
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will construct models of coral colonies showing many aspects of the coral’s natural history – including the structure of coral polyps and the coral colony’s colonial life style.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Egg%20Carton%20Coral.pdf

How to Hide in the Ocean

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students will observe and discuss the advantages of camouflage, then try their hands at designing a well-camouflaged fish.
Find More: https://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12_detail/how_to_hide_in_the_ocean

A Marine Short Story

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will read a short story on the effects of human impacts on coral reefs, discuss the different impacts, and then write their own story on what we can do to protect our corals.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/A%20Marine%20Short%20Story.pdf

Paint a Reef Mural

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students identify speceis of coral reef animals and their preferred habitat niches then share that knowledge by painting a mural together.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/reefmurallesson.pdf

Reef Story Play

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: University of Miami
Students will act out characters in a coral reef play.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Reef%20Story%20Play.pdf

Science Coral Reef Worksheets

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: ABCTeach.com
A variety of coral reef themed activities related to art, math and geography.
Find More: https://www.abcteach.com/directory/subjects-science-habitats-biomes-coral-reef-3773-2-1

Skip The Straw Pledge

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Teachers and students can learn about marine debris and take a pledge to not use plastic straws.
Find More: https://floridadep.gov/waste/waste/campaign/content/educator-resources-skip-straw

Weave a Food Web

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will discover the food/energy relationships within a food web in a coral reef habitat.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Weave%20a%20Food%20Web.pdf

 

Florida’s Coral Reef Lessons and Activities

In Fall of 2021, the Coral Reef Conservation Program released updated lesson plans, materials, and activities for their Coral Reef Education Trunks program (AA 35). These resources have been adapted so that teachers can use them even without a trunk.

More activities

Bubble Reef

Grade Level:

K-6
Source: Reef Relief
Activity to teach students about coral reproduction, specifically broadcast spawning.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Bubble%20reef.pdf

Build an Ocean

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students will identify basic mangrove/seagrass/coral reef plants and animals and describe this interrelated ecosystem.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Build%20an%20Ocean.pdf

Coral Construction

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students model the beginnings of reef formation and the challenges of coral polyp settlement in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/activity3.pdf

Coral Constructors

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore the diversity of coral shapes using Lego building bricks, which they use to discover the impacts of storm action on different colonies within the reef.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralconstructors.pdf

Coral Kingdom

Grade Level:

3-5
Source: Nat Geo Kids
Students learn about corals and their importance to marine ecosystems with host Sam as she explores Florida’s Coral reef.
Find More:https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=65E1S2lFK44&feature=youtu.be

Coral Reef Ecology Videos

Grade Level:

3-5
Source: PBS
A playlist of seven short videos on coral reef ecology and biology, for Florida Educators.
Find More:https://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/e740c41e-71a2-4c3e-85eb-c64534ca890c/coral-reef-ecology-videos/

Coral Reef Café

Grade Level:

3-8
Source: Coral Reef Adventure Film
Students will simulate how fishes on a reef feed to learn how the size and shape of a fish’s mouth can show what type of food it eats.
Find More: http://www.coralfilm.com/CRAEducatorGuide.pdf

Coral Reef Race for Survival Game

Grade Level:

3-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
To foster an understanding of the survival needs of corals in their natural habitat and some of the destructive influences of human behaviors.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20Reef%20Race%20for%20Survival.pdf

Coral: What Portion is Alive

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will comprehend the living portion of stony corals are all on the exterior non-attached surface.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20-%20What%20portion%20is%20alive.pdf

Corals Up Close

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore coral polyp anatomy, how it fits into a colony, and coral feeding techniques by modelling coral polyps with their hands.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralupclose.pdf

Critter Collage

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in shallow coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/collage.pdf

Critter Collage II

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in deep coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/deepcollage.pdf

The Edible Coral Polyp

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will review the parts of a coral polyp by building an edible coral polyp model.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/The%20Edible%20Coral%20Polyp.pdf

Egg Carton Coral

Grade Level:

K-6
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will construct models of coral colonies showing many aspects of the coral’s natural history – including the structure of coral polyps and the coral colony’s colonial life style.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Egg%20Carton%20Coral.pdf

Growing Corals

Grade Level:

3-8
Source: SeaWorld Educational Resources
Students will observe the growth of crystals that develop in a way similar to how coral polyps create their calcium carbonate cups.
Find More: http://da15bdaf715461308003-0c725c907c2d637068751776aeee5fbf.r7.cf1.rackcdn.com/6322d7c9e67942b1966436e731c8a1e8_k-4-growing-coral.pdf

How to Hide in the Ocean

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students will observe and discuss the advantages of camouflage, then try their hands at designing a well-camouflaged fish.
Find More: https://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12_detail/how_to_hide_in_the_ocean

Manta Mysteries

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore the challenges of identifying and tracking manta rays through role playing activities.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/activity5.pdf

Marine Food Webs

Grade Level:

3-5
Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Investigate contents of a plastic glove gelitain “stomach” to understand food web designs.
Find More: http://www.coralfilm.com/edu.html#guide

A Marine Short Story

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will read a short story on the effects of human impacts on coral reefs, discuss the different impacts, and then write their own story on what we can do to protect our corals.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/A%20Marine%20Short%20Story.pdf

Paint a Reef Mural

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students identify speceis of coral reef animals and their preferred habitat niches then share that knowledge by painting a mural together.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/reefmurallesson.pdf

Plastics Plastics Everywhere

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore how plastics affect the ocean environment and the impact they and their families have on the amount of plastic bags used each day, week, and year.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/plasticbaglesson.pdf

Reef Story Play

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: University of Miami
Students will act out characters in a coral reef play.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Reef%20Story%20Play.pdf

Science Coral Reef Worksheets

Grade Level:

K-5
Source: ABCTeach.com
A variety of coral reef themed activities related to art, math and geography.
Find More: https://www.abcteach.com/directory/subjects-science-habitats-biomes-coral-reef-3773-2-1

Sinking Races

Grade Level:

2-8
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students will build plankton models and compete to see which sinks most slowly.
Find More: https://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12_detail/sinking_races

Skip The Straw Pledge

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Teachers and students can learn about marine debris and take a pledge to not use plastic straws.
Find More: https://floridadep.gov/waste/waste/campaign/content/educator-resources-skip-straw

Swimming with Lobsters

Grade Level:

2-4
Source: PBS Learning Media
Short video that shows some aspects of lobster biology.
Find More: https://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/wild-kratts-4009-clip-swimming-with-lobsters/wild-kratts-4009-clip-swimming-with-lobsters/#.WnB83-SWzct

Trash Talk: Marine Debris 

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: NOAA
A series of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about marine debris and how to address it. The series was awarded a regional Emmy.
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-trashtalk.html

Weave a Food Web

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will discover the food/energy relationships within a food web in a coral reef habitat.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Weave%20a%20Food%20Web.pdf

Florida’s Coral Reef Lessons and Activities

In Fall of 2021, the Coral Reef Conservation Program released updated lesson plans, materials, and activities for their Coral Reef Education Trunks program (AA 35). These resources have been adapted so that teachers can use them even without a trunk.

More activities

Anatomy of a Coral Polyp

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: labelled drawing and description of the anatomy of a coraly polyp.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/polypanatomy.pdf

Coral Aging

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Nick Tagliareni
Learn about coral growth rates using x-radiographs of coral cores and world U.S. events timelines.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Aging%20Coral.pdf

Coral Constructors

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore the diversity of coral shapes using Lego building bricks, which they use to discover the impacts of storm action on different colonies within the reef.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralconstructors.pdf

Coral Cores: Ocean Timelines

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students use x-ray images of actual coral cores to discover how coral create their calcium carbonate skeletons and what those layers of growth can tell us.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralcores.pdf

The Coral Game

Grade Level:

6-8
Source: University of Texas
Students will learn coral reef ecology and the current dangers facing coral reefs through role play.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/The%20Coral%20Game.pdf

Coral Reef Crossword Puzzle

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students complete a crossword puzzle using general coral reef knowledge.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Coral%20Reef%20Crossword%20Puzzle.pdf

Coral Reef Crossword

Grade Level:

5-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students test their coral reef knowledge and vocabulary with this themed crossword puzzle.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralcrossword.pdf

Coral Reef Ecology Videos

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: PBS
A playlist of seven short videos on coral reef ecology and biology, for Florida Educators.
Find More:https://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/e740c41e-71a2-4c3e-85eb-c64534ca890c/coral-reef-ecology-videos/

Coral Comeback?

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA
A collection of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about coral biology, ecology, threats, and the science of protecting and restoring coral reefs
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-coralcomeback.html

Coral Reef Word Search

Grade Level:

5-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: review coral reef vocabulary by searching for words from Algae to Zooxanthellae.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralwordsearch.pdf

Coral Reef Jeopardy

Grade Level:

5-12
Source: Florida Sea Grant
Based on the game Jeopardy!, students will be challenged to compose the correct question when an answer is given related to coral reef biodiversity, reproduction, zonation, threats, and facts about southeast FL coral reefs.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20Reef%20Jeopardy.pdf

Coral Reefs, Polyps, and Heads

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will learn about how coral communities form, and assist in the builoding of a model.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/hilda_2.html

Coral Reef Race for Survival Game

Grade Level:

3-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
To foster an understanding of the survival needs of corals in their natural habitat and some of the destructive influences of human behaviors.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20Reef%20Race%20for%20Survival.pdf

Coral Spawning

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA CHAMP
A simple lesson that allows students to explain why corals gain reproductive advantage by spawning all at once.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Spawning%20activity.pdf

Coral Spawning, Bleaching, and Effects from CO2

Grade Level:

6-8
Source: NOAA Coral Health and Monitoring Program
Three lesson plans exploring coral spawning, bleaching, and effects from CO2. Each includes background info, a student experiment, and a teacher’s section.
Find More: http://www.coral.noaa.gov/resources/education.html

Coral Spawning Globe

Grade Level:

5-8
Source: NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries
Learn about coral spawning events by making a coral spawning globe.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralspawningglobe.pdf

Coral: What Portion is Alive

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will comprehend the living portion of stony corals are all on the exterior non-attached surface.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20-%20What%20portion%20is%20alive.pdf

Corals Up Close

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore coral polyp anatomy, how it fits into a colony, and coral feeding techniques by modelling coral polyps with their hands.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralupclose.pdf

Critter Collage

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in shallow coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/collage.pdf

Critter Collage II

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students learn about and identify animals that live in deep coral reefs.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/deepcollage.pdf

Effects of CO2 on Coral Reefs

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA CHAMP
Students will be able to explain the role of CO2 in photosynthesis/cellular respiration and carbonic acid’s impact on coral skeletons and pH.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Effects%20of%20CO2%20on%20Coral%20Reefs.pdf

Egg Carton Coral

Grade Level:

K-6
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
Students will construct models of coral colonies showing many aspects of the coral’s natural history – including the structure of coral polyps and the coral colony’s colonial life style.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Egg%20Carton%20Coral.pdf

How to Hide in the Ocean

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students will observe and discuss the advantages of camouflage, then try their hands at designing a well-camouflaged fish.
Find More: https://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12_detail/how_to_hide_in_the_ocean

Manta Mysteries

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore the challenges of identifying and tracking manta rays through role playing activities.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/activity5.pdf

Trash Talk: Marine Debris

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: NOAA
A series of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about marine debris and how to address it. The series was awarded a regional Emmy.
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-trashtalk.html

Mealtime for Corals

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Coral Reefs: An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students
This activity illustrates the feeding activity of a coral colony. Individual polyps, though connected, feed independently.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Mealtime%20for%20Corals.pdf

Microfishing

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students collect living microorganisms and develop skills in microscopy, observation, speculation, hypothesizing, oral presentation, and raising questions.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Mealtime%20for%20Corals.pdf

Ocean Careers Exploration

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventure
Learn about the strengths of working in a diverse team while gathering information about ocean careers.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Ocean%20Careers%20Exploration.pdf

Oysters are More Than Food

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: JIn the Grass, On the Reef and PBS Learning Media
Short video explaining that oyster, while being important to the seafood industry, have lasting economic value when left on the reef.
Find More: https://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/53d3c34c-8d11-4b41-8d4b-76de90925e1c/osyters-are-more-than-food/#.WnB80-SWzcs

Paint a Reef Mural

Grade Level:

K-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students identify species of coral reef animals and their preferred habitat niches then share that knowledge by painting a mural together.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/reefmurallesson.pdf

Plastics In the Water Column

Grade Level:

6-8
Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Compare plastic buoyancies with marine feeding strategies to understand how plastics effect marine animals.
Find More: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/-/m/pdf/education/curriculum/aquarium-6-8-plastics-in-thewater-column.pdf

Plastics Plastics Everywhere

Grade Level:

4-8
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore how plastics affect the ocean environment and the impact they and their families have on the amount of plastic bags used each day, week, and year.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/plasticbaglesson.pdf

Skip The Straw Pledge

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Teachers and students can learn about marine debris and take a pledge to not use plastic straws.
Find More: https://floridadep.gov/waste/waste/campaign/content/educator-resources-skip-straw

Sinking Races

Grade Level:

2-8
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students will build plankton models and compete to see which sinks most slowly.
Find More: https://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12_detail/sinking_races

Threat Ranking

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: PADI
Students will brainstorm to identify, rank, and discuss realistic ways to reduce perceived local threats to coral reefs. Promotes small group discussion and identification of local priorities for community-based conservation solutions.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Threat%20Ranking.pdf

Water Clarity

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will determine the relative clarity of different bodies of water and discuss why corals need clear water.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_1.html

Water Salinity

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will determine the salinity of different water samples using a variety of methods and discuss how corals can tolerate some variation in the salinity of their environment.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_2.html

What if the Reef Dies?

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will model, using simple laboratory materials, aspects of reef ecology including how sewage discharge, CO2, and fish populations effect corals and how corals stop erosion.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/gail_2.html

Where’s the Salt?

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will learn how porous limestone filters salt.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_3.html

Working as a Team

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Students will learn about symbioses and that interactions between organisms go beyond predator and prey.
Find More: http://www.stri.si.edu/english/PDFs/culebra_education_eng/lets_work_on_groups.pdf

Florida’s Coral Reef Lessons and Activities

In Fall of 2021, the Coral Reef Conservation Program released updated lesson plans, materials, and activities for their Coral Reef Education Trunks program (AA 35). These resources have been adapted so that teachers can use them even without a trunk.

More activities

Anatomy of a Coral Polyp

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: labelled drawing and description of the anatomy of a coral polyp.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/polypanatomy.pdf

Blue Planet: Coral Seas

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Discovery Education
Students will work in small groups to identify basic info about coral polyps, reefs, and natural threats; create a poster and class presentation related to one of these topics. This lesson accompanies the Discovery Channel: Blue Planet Seas of Life series.
Find More: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/blue-planet-coral-seas.cfm

Chasing Coral

Grade Level:

9-12
Source: An Exposure Labs Production
An educational documentary about a team of divers, photographers, and scientists that attempt to discover why coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate.
Find More: http://www.chasingcoral.com/

Coral Aging

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Nick Tagliareni
Learn about coral growth rates using x-radiographs of coral cores and world U.S. events timelines.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Aging%20Coral.pdf

Coral Comeback?

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA
A collection of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about coral biology, ecology, threats, and the science of protecting and restoring coral reefs
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-coralcomeback.html

Coral Constructors

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore the diversity of coral shapes using Lego building bricks, which they use to discover the impacts of storm action on different colonies within the reef.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralconstructors.pdf

Coral Cores: Ocean Timelines

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Students use x-ray images of actual coral cores to discover how coral create their calcium carbonate skeletons and what those layers of growth can tell us.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralcores.pdf

Coral Reef Crossword Puzzle

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Supplementary: students complete a crossword puzzle using general coral reef knowledge.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Coral%20Reef%20Crossword%20Puzzle.pdf

Coral Reef Jeopardy

Grade Level:

5-12
Source: Florida Sea Grant
Based on the game Jeopardy!, students will be challenged to compose the correct question when an answer is given related to coral reef biodiversity, reproduction, zonation, threats, and facts about southeast FL coral reefs.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/K%20-%205/Coral%20Reef%20Jeopardy.pdf

Coral Reef Protection and Restoration Videos

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA
A collection of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about coral biology, ecology, threats, and the science of protecting and restoring coral reefs
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-coralcomeback.html

Coral Spawning

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA CHAMP
A simple lesson that allows students to explain why corals gain a reproductive advantage by spawning all at once.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Spawning%20activity.pdf

Coral Tutorial

Grade Level:

8-12
Source: NOAA National Ocean Service
An overview of coral biology, threats, and disease.
Find More: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/tutorial_corals/welcome.html

Corals Up Close

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Students explore coral polyp anatomy, how it fits into a colony, and coral feeding techniques by modelling coral polyps with their hands.
Find More: https://nmsflowergarden.blob.core.windows.net/flowergarden-prod/media/archive/document_library/eddocs/coralupclose.pdf

Effects of CO2 on Coral Reefs

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA CHAMP
Students will be able to explain the role of CO2 in photosynthesis/cellular respiration and carbonic acid’s impact on coral skeletons and pH.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Effects%20of%20CO2%20on%20Coral%20Reefs.pdf

Microfishing

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: Woods Hole Sea Education Association
Students collect living microorganisms and develop skills in microscopy, observation, speculation, hypothesizing, oral presentation, and raising questions.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Mealtime%20for%20Corals.pdf

Ocean Acidification

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: NOAA
Students will describe how humans affect carbon in the atmosphere, how CO2 affects pH, and how ocean acidification affects marine life.
Find More: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/Assets/Nemo/documents/lessons/Lesson_3/Lesson_3-Teacher’s_Guide.pdf

Ocean Careers Exploration

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventure
Learn about the strengths of working in a diverse team while gathering information about ocean careers.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Ocean%20Careers%20Exploration.pdf

Oysters are More Than Food

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: JIn the Grass, On the Reef and PBS Learning Media
Short video explaining that oyster, while being important to the seafood industry, have lasting economic value when left on the reef.
Find More: https://florida.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/53d3c34c-8d11-4b41-8d4b-76de90925e1c/osyters-are-more-than-food/#.WnB80-SWzcs

Skip The Straw Pledge

Grade Level:

K-12
Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Teachers and students can learn about marine debris and take a pledge to not use plastic straws.
Find More: https://floridadep.gov/waste/waste/campaign/content/educator-resources-skip-straw

Threat Ranking

Grade Level:

6-12
Source: PADI
Students will brainstorm to identify, rank, and discuss realistic ways to reduce perceived local threats to coral reefs. Promotes small group discussion and identification of local priorities for community-based conservation solutions.
Find More: https://southeastfloridareefs.net/uploads/Activities%20and%20lesson%20plans/6%20-%208/Threat%20Ranking.pdf

Trash Talk: Marine Debris

Grade Level:

3-12
Source: NOAA
A series of videos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about marine debris and how to address it. The series was awarded a regional Emmy.
Find More: https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/every-full-moon/full-moon-trashtalk.html

Water Clarity

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will determine the relative clarity of different bodies of water and discuss why corals need clear water.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_1.html

Water Salinity

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will determine the salinity of different water samples using a variety of methods and discuss how corals can tolerate some variation in the salinity of their environment.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_2.html

What if the Reef Dies?

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will model, using simple laboratory materials, aspects of reef ecology including how sewage discharge, CO2, and fish populations effect corals and how corals stop erosion.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/gail_2.html

Where’s the Salt?

Grade Level:

6-10
Source: Bermuda Biological Station for Research and the College of Exploration
Students will learn how porous limestone filters salt.
Find More: http://www.coexploration.org/bbsr/coral/lessons/felice_3.html