Lively Lessons: Ocean and Coastal Habitats

Francie Snyder_circleThis Lively Lesson contributed by Francie Snyder. Francie is an Educator of the Gifted in Manatee County, Florida.  She has been using Discovery Education for nearly 10 years and has been a DEN STAR since 2010 and a member of the Leadership Council since 2012. A talented photographer, Francie snapped the featured image for this post.

Earth Day on April 22 is marked by celebrations worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. All month long, Discovery Education will share resources, ideas, and strategies to engage and inspire students in the difference they can make.

This Lively Lesson shares Discovery Education resources along with strategies to explore human effects on the ocean and coastal habitats.


Suggested Resources:

c_bill_nye_beachStuff Happens with Bill Nye: Beaches

Video, Grades 6-12

Scientist Bill Nye meets four beachgoers who demonstrate how careless practices at the beach can jeopardize the environment and damage our health. He sets them straight with interesting facts about pollution, litter, and global warming as well as provides helpful tips for becoming more environmentally friendly at the beach.


c_beach_pollutionOcean Pollution Affects our Food and Fun

Video, Grades 3-8

Streams and ponds may contain harmful chemicals even though the water looks clean. The same is true for ocean water. Sometimes beaches are closed because of chemicals in the water. The chemicals also are found in fish. Fish that may have chemicals in them are harmful to humans who eat them.



Human Impact on Coastal Biomes

Video, Grades 6-8

Salt marshes are important to many kinds of life, but in many places they are being filled in for housing and industrial development. All coastal ecosystems are affected and often threatened by human activity.


c_oceanWater Pollution

Encyclopedia article

Water pollution is contamination of water by foreign matter such as microorganisms, chemicals, industrial or other wastes, or sewage. Such matter deteriorates the quality of the water and renders it unfit for its intended uses.



Instruct students to record what they have learned by using SOS: PMI. With PMI, students are asked to record information into one of three columns: Plus for information they like, Minus for information they dislike, and Interesting for information that is new and/or interesting. After exploring each resource, allow student a chance to discuss what they have learned and why specific items were placed in each column. Encourage students to add things to their list they may have missed.



To assess student understanding, have students work in groups of two or three to write and produce a version of SOS: Puppet Pictures. Give students the task of writing a narrative for Puppet Pictures that includes the human effects of the world’s oceans and coastlines. Tip: Discovery Education images can serve as background images for this task.


From the Community:

Utilize a Cooperative Learning Rubric and Digital Storytelling Rubric, shared by the Discovery Education Community.


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