Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA

In 2017, selected lessons and background information from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection (V1: Why Do We Explore? and V2: How Do We Explore?) were updated for the Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA educator professional development workshop. This workshop is designed to encourage educators and their students to become engaged with expeditions and discoveries made by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and other ships of exploration and thus inspire the next generation of ocean explorers, scientists, and engineers.


PDF of the entire Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA lesson package (17.3 MB)


PDF files of Individual Sections/Lessons

Introduction to Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA

Background Pieces:

Lesson Plans:

"To Boldly Go..."
This introductory lesson guides student inquiries into modern reasons for ocean exploration including: climate change, energy, human health, ocean health, innovation, research and ocean literacy.
Hands-on activity: Learning Shapes

To Boldly Go...Addendum: Optional Learning Shape Fact Sheets
Within the To Boldly Go... lesson PDF, note the Diving Deeper section. This section provides more in-depth background information on each of the key Why Do We Explore? topics.


What’s the Big Deal? (Grades 9-12)
Students will define methane hydrates and describe where these substances are typically found and how they are believed to be formed. Students will also describe at least three ways in which methane hydrates could have a direct impact on their own lives, and describe how additional knowledge of methane hydrates could provide human benefits.
Hands-on activity: Construct a methane hydrate model


Wet Maps (Grades 5-6)
Focus: Bathymetric mapping
Students analyze and interpret data to explain how multibeam sonar is used to identify patterns of ocean floor structures; construct three-dimensional maps; and understand how multibeam sonar technology extends the measurement and exploration capacity of modern ocean exploration.
Hands-on activity: Model multibeam sonar mapping


Watching in 3-D (Grades 9-12)
Focus: Multibeam sonar
Students explain how multibeam sonar uses the properties of sound waves in water for scientific research about topography of the ocean floor; and analyze and interpret multibeam sonar data to identify patterns in the distribution of seafloor features that contribute to scientific research about large-scale interactions in Earth ’s systems.
Hands-on activity: Manipulate and analyze seafloor features using mapping software

To supplement the Watching in 3-D lesson, the following activities describe how geographical and mapping data marry with expedition website data and selected interactive Fledermaus scene files from key discoveries. The Digital Atlas can be used to obtain information about past NOAA Ocean Explorer expeditions, education resources associated with the expeditions, ship tracks, bathymetric maps, dive tracks, and more.


The Oceanographic Yo-yo (Grades 7-8)
Focus: Ocean chemistry and hydrothermal vents
Students analyze and interpret data from the Okeanos Explorer to make inferences about the possible presence of hydrothermal vents and explain how interaction with hydrothermal vents affects chemical and physical properties of seawater.
Hands-on activity: Model and analyze a hydrothermal vent


Invent a Robot! (Grades 5-6)
Focus: Engineering Design
Students explain how underwater robots are used in scientific exploration to gather data and help answer questions about the natural world and design and optimize potential solutions for an ocean exploration problem.
Hands on activity: Build a simple robotic arm



These lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards exit icon and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts exit icon. This does not necessarily mean that a particular lesson fully develops the noted standards, principles, or concepts, but, rather, indicates that an educator may use the information in the lesson as a context or point of departure for addressing those standards.

Why Do We Explore matrix illustrating lesson support for the Next Generation Science Standards

How Do We Explore matrix illustrating lesson support for the Next Generation Science Standards

Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA lesson correlations to the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts



For more information, please contact the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Education Team at: oceanexeducation@noaa.gov.