NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection - Why Do We Explore?

Volume 1 of the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection - Why Do We Explore? begins with a lesson titled "To Boldly Go..." to guide students into an inquiry of reasons for ocean exploration and to provide educators background information on key topics of Ocean Exploration including Climate Change, Energy, Human Health, and Ocean Health. The Diving Deeper section offers additional information on some aspects and the subsequent 15 lessons guide further inquiries into these topics. Some of these lessons have been adapted from lessons previously developed for various NOAA Ocean Explorer expeditions, while others have been created specifically for the Okeanos Explorer education initiative. Whenever possible, hands-on activities are included that involve manipulations other than paper-and-pencil exercises or Web-based research. The reason for doing this is that field science, and exploration in particular, depend heavily upon technology and problem-solving skills needed to create, use, and advance new technology.

Each lesson in this volume supports the Next Generation Science Standards 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.

Lessons also include links to other relevant lesson plans from the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, as well as the Ocean Explorer Web site. Educators who use the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection should regularly check the Okeanos Explorer Education section for the latest information about new education offerings and professional development opportunities.

camera icon Why Do We Explore? Keynote Address (3.6 Mb)

Book Version

PDF of the entire Why Do We Explore? book (10.8 Mb)

**Indvidual lessons flagged below were updated in 2017. The updated versions are not reflected in the full Book Version (above). For the most recent versions, download the individual lesson PDFs below.

PDF files of Individual Lessons

The lessons provided in the links below include brief background information but also refer to background and resource information presented in other sections of the book. Those who wish to download individual lessons should also download the Introduction section (pages vi and vii), and the To Boldly Go... and Diving Deeper lessons (pgs. 9 - 34), for in depth material on Climate Change, Energy, Ocean Health and Human Health, and the Resources and Standards sections (pgs. 217-232).


Section 1:
Background Information for Volume 1: Why Do We Explore?

Section 2:
Key Inquiry Topic – Ocean Exploration

Section 3:
Key Inquiry Topic – Climate Change

Section 4:
Key Inquiry Topic – Energy

Section 5:
Key Inquiry Topic – Human Health

Section 6:
Key Inquiry Topic – Ocean Health

Resources & Standards

Why Do We Explore? Online Professional Development

For more information and video introductions to Climate Change, Energy, Human Health and Ocean Health, visit the online professional development offerings for Why Do We Explore?, archived here.


For more information, please contact the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Education Team at: