Lesson Plans

The Cal-Echoes Lesson Plans have been designed by teachers, educators, and graduate fellows for use in conjunction with the Cal-Echoes website and associated research questions. Some lessons are original, while others are modified and/or adapted from previously developed curriculum. All lessons are aligned to the Ocean Literacy Principles, National Science Education Standards, and State Science Standards for California and/or Ohio.  Please see our Daily Learning Themes for more lesson plans, videos, and supporting materials.

– Please share how these activities went in the classroom!  And feel free to send any photos and new ideas for lesson plans.

– Raw video from the cruise is available.  Please contact us if you would like to use it in your classroom.


CalEchoes Introduction _____Grades 5-8 ______________Diana Tucker ______  ______An introduction to the science and researchers aboard Cal-Echoes. Students created great videos as part of this lesson! Learning Theme Day One. Lesson plan (pdf)

Sampling the Ocean _______Grades 9-12 _______________Alison Cawood ______(Biology) – Students will simulate sampling organisms to generate oceanographic data.  They will become aware of some of the difficulties inherent in sampling the ocean (such as patchiness and behavior of animals). They will also practice drawing conclusions based on data. simulate sampling organisms. Learning Theme Day Four. Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

What Floats Your Boat?_____Grades 5-8, all ages ____Ben Neal and Jerry Ruiz ooooooo (Physics) – Using aluminum foil, bowls of water, and pennies, students explore the concepts of buoyancy, displacement, and surface area. Learning Theme Day One. Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Stories in the Sediment_____Elementary school, all ages   __Shelley Glenn-Lee  _____(Geology) – Students will use their senses of smell, touch, hearing, and sight to explore the properties of deep sea mud including what it is made of, how it is collected, and what can be found in the mud. Learning Theme Day Two. Lesson plan (pdf) (word) ____Student Workbook (word)

Microfossil Investigation (Activity) ______ All ages     ____ Dr. Richard Norris  ______(Geology) – Procedure for collecting microfossils from marine mud. Learning Theme Day Two. (pdf) (word)

Coring with Clay_______________All ages_______________Johnnie Lyman ______(Geology) – Students will explore how seafloor sedimentation occurs and how scientists scientific coring techniques through the use of multiple colored modeling clay  (e.g. PlayDoh) and everyday drinking straws. Learning Theme Day Two.  Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Graphing Oceanographic Data __Grades 9-12 _______________Alison Cawood   ______(Physics, Chemistry, Biology) – Students will review graphing and data interpretation using commonly collected physical oceanographic data.  Learning Theme Day Three. Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Survival in the Oceans ____Grades 9-12__________________ Steve Blatnica  _____(Biology) –  This activity serves as an introduction to the open-ocean ecosystem, the animals that live there, why they are important, and how they are studied by researchers. Learning Theme Day Four. Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Mollusc Adaptations ______Grades 9-12 _________________Alison Cawood ______(Biology) – Students will examine a variety of live and preserved molluscs.  They will compare and contrast body forms and try to relate the various body forms to different ecological roles and strategies. Learning Theme Day Four.  Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Zooplankton Diversity ____Grades 9-12 _________________Alison Cawood ______(Biology) – Students will examine live and preserved zooplankton samples. They will describe what the organisms look like and how they move.  Students will use this information to make inferences about how and where the organisms live.  Learning Theme Day Five. Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

Zooplankton Race __________All ages   ________________Alison Cawood ______(Biology) – Students will use their knowledge of zooplankton types and forms to create a “zooplanktonic” organism that is as close to neutrally buoyant as possible.  They will put their creations into a tank of water and see which creature sinks the most slowly.  Students will have several opportunities to improve their designs. Learning Theme Day Five.  Lesson plan (pdf) (word)

What is a biology researcher? __All ages_________________Steve Blatnica ______(Introduction) – Students are introduced to the research cruise by developing skills in asking testable questions.  Learning Theme Day One.  Lesson plan (pdf) (word) Testable questions handout (word)

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