Resources for Educators

We depend on the work of formal and informal educators to strengthen understanding and appreciation of the oceans and their importance in audiences of all ages.  By engaging educators and ocean scientists in mutually beneficial programs, COSEE-NE facilitates the integration of research into high quality educational materials.

Most recently, COSEE-NE hosted a workshop for professional facilitators (those who work to connect scientists and educators to advance ocean science education) to explore best practices and needs for facilitation.


COSEE-NE programs for Formal Educators

COSEE-NE is creating ways to engage K-12 educators and scientists in mutually beneficial programs that promote ocean science literacy. 

  • (NEOSEC):  A collaboration among a range of institutions from across the region, including museums and aquaria, universities, and research institutions. 


COSEE-NE programs for Informal Educators

At COSEE-NE, we have been developing strategies to help aquariums and other informal science education institutions (ISEIs) incorporate current science, as informed by ocean scientists, into exhibits and programs.

  • (NEOSEC)- A collaboration among a range of institutions from across the region, including museums and aquaria, universities, and research institutions. 
  • Sharing the Challenge (StC): Bringing together scientists and informal science professionals to create exciting exhibits for everyone.


COSEE-NE Documents, Tools, and Presentations

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Ocean Sciences Education Institute (OSEI)

In OSEI, researchers and middle school teachers, district science coordinators and facilitators collaborate to share resources, materials and expertise to develop exemplary research-based lesson plans to be implemented in the middle school classroom.

OSEI participants share their ocean science projects throughout New England and the country by posting lesson plans on this website and by presenting at regional and national conferences.

  • Make Your Own Plankton Sieve (pdf) - Project PSOS facilitator Carol `Krill’ Carson and participating researcher Kelly Rakow have developed a guide for making plankton sieves, a very handy tool for studying plankton in the classroom!
  • Download a poster (pdf) on the Waves and Tsunamis Project, a collaboration between a marine seismologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ralph Stephen, and middle school teachers in Plymouth Massachusetts, Mary Lavin, Derek Strohschneider, and Richard Maichle. The project was carried out under the auspices of OSEI,sponsored by COSEE-NE. The goal was to develop a classroom unit about wave properties.
  • - Plymouth Public Schools and WHOI researcher developed curriculum on wave action for middle school students. The team designed five hands-on investigation stations for students to rotate through that dealt with wavelength, amplitude, and frequency. One of the investigations included this interactive website for both teachers and students, designed by Dr. Stephen to explain ocean wave properties.
  • Carbon Cycle Diagram and Lesson Plan - In Fairhaven public schools, the OSEI team developed curriculum to introduce the carbon cycle to the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. By bringing cutting edge research into the middle school classroom, OSEI introduced students to the carbon cycle, its relationship to human activities, and its importance globally.
  • Common Marine Plankton Poster - As part of her involvement in COSEE-NE’s OSEI II project, researched and produced a hand-drawn poster identifying common species of marine plankton. Now you too can have this poster in your home or classroom – just download here and print.
  • Hemigrapsus sanguineus - Lesson plan on Hemigrapsus sanguineus, the Asian shore crab, developed from OSEI 1.  Designed for grade 6.
  • on PBS is an excellent tool for formal and informal educators.  Included with the two documentaries, Empty Oceans and Empty Nets and Farming the Seas is a comprehensive activity guide.  The activity guide for students encompasses six different well-reviewed activities covering material in the documentaries. 


Other Resources for Educators

By studying expert models and national, state, and local education guidelines, COSEE-NE seeks to identify exemplary ocean science education resources for New England's educators.  Websites, Resources, and Professional Associations are listed below.

Featured Websites

  • Since 1983, the has employed a wide range of individuals, including photographers, artists, policy experts, and others, all in the name of maintaining the viability of the fifteen year-round island communities in the Gulf of Maine.  Website resources include information about fellowship opportunities, working waterfront initiatives, links to initiatives of interest, educational resources, and much more.


  •  NSTA recently launched Lab Out Loud, a bi-weekly series in which science news and science education is discussed with researchers, science writers and other figures in the field.

  • is organized around coastal and ocean framework data, needed for research, planning and management of coastal and ocean resources. These data include, bathymetry, shoreline, sea floor mapping, habitat, landcover, seismic data, fisheries, and marine boundaries. The Oceans and Coast Community within One Stop seeks to provide access to these data, clearinghouses, and applications, as well as information about the activities, programs, and committees that support the ocean and coastal community.
  • is a system for monitoring the linked oceanic and estuarine ecosystem in our region. This monitoring system has the capability to detect changes in the ecosystem across multiple physical and trophic levels. The Center offers many education resources for download and an improved data access tool for obtaining buoy, boat, and satellite data.
  •   The New England Aquarium recently announced the launch of the website for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA). PIPA is the third largest marine protected area in the world and was recently nominated as a world heritage site. The New England Aquarium, under the direction of VP Gregory Stone, has played a critical role in the development of the PIPA, starting with two expeditions to conduct biological surveys of the islands in 2000 and 2002 and a National Geographic article in 2004.
  • is now available on NOAA's Ocean Explorer website.  In 2008, NOAA will commission a ship of exploration, the Okeanos Explorer, which will operate with a new paradigm: most of the scientists will be ashore rather than on the ship.  Exploration Command Centers in several locations in the United States will connect to the Okeanos Explorer and its sensors via satellite and high-speed Internet2 to transmit live images and other data from the seafloor.  Via this "telepresence," scientists ashore will have the capability to control the exploration missions, even though they are far from sea.  Telepresence will also have the capability of bringing ocean exploration and discovery into classrooms.  Internet coverage for this mission includes content essays written by the mission explorers, a special Education essay written for educators, and links to content-related educational materials for teachers of students in grades 5-12.
  •   Funded by the National Science Foundation in 2002, this partnership of the Exploratorium, King's College London, and the University of California Santa Cruz conducts research on informal learning, the informal science education infrastructure, and the connections between in- and out-of-school science learning. CILS also provides training through graduate programs in developmental psychology and science education, professional development for informal educators, and conferences that bring together researchers and practitioners.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has mapped the seafloor of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and western Massachusetts Bay, offshore of Boston, Massachusetts.

  • links elementary schools in all corners of the Earth, encouraging students to be active participants in collecting local weather and climate data, become aware of global conditions, and learn about environmental science and cultural geography.
  • has produced a series of interactive DVDs about how the planet works featuring world-renowned ocean scientists, latest discoveries, and original student art and music.
  •   - University of New Hampshire's Center of Excellence for Ocean Observation and Analysis provides multiple downloadable movies illustrating physical, chemical, and biological characteristic of the oceans from a satellite's-eye view.
  • Each month, the shares information pertinent to the marine educator community. The monthly email update is intended to improve the availability of education information to MPA practitioners and the public, encourage exchange of information and programs, and promote collaboration among educators. If you'd like to receive the monthly update, please send a blank message to with "subscribe infoexchange" in the subject field.
  • Visit  for images of microbes, classification schemes, descriptions of organisms, talks and other educational resources to improve awareness of the biodiversity of our microbial partners.
  • Visit for a variety of educational and supporting materials for students and teachers of microbiology. You will find information about microorganisms, extremophiles and extreme habitats, as well as links to online resources, teaching and learning activities.
  • - Plymouth Public Schools and WHOI researcher developed curriculum on wave action for middle school students. The team designed five hands-on investigation stations for students to rotate through that dealt with wavelength, amplitude, and frequency. One of the investigations included this interactive website for both teachers and students, designed by Dr. Stephen to explain ocean wave properties.
  • The Teachers Resource Center at the New England Aquarium offers free curriculum consultation and loan materials, try out hands-on aquatic science activities— scan pictures, preview or borrow kits, videos, shells and more.
  • - This Gulf of Maine Aquarium web site contains illustrated information and classroom-ready activities for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to learn about aquatic environments. This site is divided into seven topical sites, either by habitat or species. “Space Available” focuses on using satellite imagery to study the oceans, and includes sections on the human impact on oceans, weather, remote sensing, and how satellites work...
  • - The NOAA Education site was designed for the teacher to use in the classroom or as background reference material, for weather, climate, oceans, satellites, and space.
  • - The Maine Department of Marine Resources has several sample pages from the publication, A Teacher's Guide to Marine Life of the Gulf of Maine, available online. Sample pages include pictures, diagrams, and classroom activities.
  • - Dramatic new discoveries from today's explorations, deep-sea mysteries still being uncovered and historic maritime events from the past all shape our lives and fascinate educators and students alike.  Beginning in January 2005, a three-part virtual teacher workshop, Classroom Exploration of Oceans 2005, brings these exciting topics to your classroom with a special focus on efforts currently underway to protect and conserve special places in the ocean and explore still unknown areas of the deep ocean.

  • explores the science of sound through informational and audio resources.  The website discusses how people use sound to execute underwater measurements and research, how marine animals use and are affected by sound, and it also provides teacher resources such as classroom activities, feature sounds, and other useful activities.

Resource Materials

  • - The Sea Grant program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution produced the Beachcomber’s Companion©—a fun twist on the traditional field guide. Beachcomber’s Companion© cards feature just the right amount of user-friendly information for 50 Atlantic coast marine invertebrates—perfect for beachcombers of all ages! Sets can be purchased for $16.95, plus tax and shipping.
  • is intended to provide scientific education for the public specifically in the fields of natural resources, natural hazards, Geographic Information Systems, and spatial analysis.  The website provides excellent educational resources such as lessons, maps, activities, and other information for teachers.
  • - DLESE is a NSF funded catalogue of earth science resources for grades K-12 and beyond. Resources include lesson plans, data, and interactive models.
  • - The Water Sourcebooks from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contain 324 activities for grades K-12 divided into four sections: K-2, 3-5, 5-8, and 9-12. Each section is divided into five chapters: Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Ground Water Resources, and Wetlands and Coastal Waters....
  • - The Fragile Fringe: A Guide for Teaching About Coastal Wetlands is intended to provide a basis from which a comprehensive study of coastal wetlands can be developed by teachers for their classrooms. This guide provides lessons about wetlands including where they should be located, the importance of the Mississippi River, beneficial functions of wetlands, barrier islands as part of wetlands, loss of wetlands to subsidence, and loss of wetlands to gas and oil exploration...


Professional Development Associations and Opportunities

  • (Gulf of Maine Marine Educators Association), is a regional chapter of the National Marine Educators Association. COSEE-NE collaborated with GOMMEA on the winter 2005-2006 issue of their newsletter Gulfstream . It features information about COSEE-NE's programs as well as usable classroom materials that were generated in COSEE-NE projects.
  • (Massachusetts Marine Educators) is a dynamic organization of K through college teachers and representatives from museums, aquaria, and businesses. MME develops and shares curriculum materials, organizes conferences and member field trips, and provides teacher training. We collaborate with science and educational institutions to advance the cause of marine education and promote ocean literacy.  Their web site includes further information, newsletters, and lesson plans.
  • - Southeastern New England Marine Educators,
    a regional chapter of the National Marine Educators Association. COSEE-NE Collaborated with SENEME on the spring/summer 2005 edition of The Nauplius (pdf) , the newsletter of SENEME. It features information about COSEE-NE's programs as well as usable classroom materials that were generated in COSEE-NE projects.
  • - The National Marine Educators Association brings together those interested in the study and enjoyment of the world of water--both fresh and salt. NMEA provides a valuable focus for marine and aquatic studies worldwide.
  •   - ASTC offers many resources intended to help museums and science centers increase public understanding of science
  • - AZA is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums and offers information about grants, professional training and events
  • - An independent federal grant-making agency dedicating to helping all types of museums and libraries
  • - MER is dedicated to promoting the field of museum education through publications, programs and a communication network
  • Grants for Classroom Support - Grants that teachers can use for classroom support can vary widely, from the extremely complicated but large grants available from the federal government, to the very simple ones generally available from corporations. -by Cheryl Belknap

  • - The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) activity is designed to enhance the professional development of science teachers through participation in new or on-going NSF-funded research projects. GEO strongly encourages its grantees to make special efforts to identify talented teachers for participation in this opportunity.