Ocean Sciences Curriculum Sequence for Grades 3–5


The Ocean Sciences Curriculum Sequence for Grades 3–5 engages students in exploring ocean currents, features of the ocean floor, ocean habitats, ocean organism diversity, ocean food webs, adaptations to the ocean environment, and human interconnections with the ocean including exploration, technology, pollution and solutions. This upper elementary curriculum prepares students to understand the climate ocean connection and climate change curriculum they will be exposed to in middle school.

Download GEMS NGSS Alignments to find out how the curriculum aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards. (PDF, 1.87KB)

It contains three thematic units based on the Ocean Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts as well as the Ocean Literacy Scope & Sequence for Grades K–2. Each unit may be taught independently or as a progression of all three units and is appropriate for all three grades.

  • Unit 1: What kind of place is the ocean? covers Earth and physical science themes about the ocean as a physical space with unique characteristics (e.g., features of the ocean floor; properties of ocean water such as salinity, temperature, and pressure; and ocean currents).
  • Unit 2: What is life like in the ocean? covers life science themes, with a specific focus on food webs, habitats, and adaptations.
  • Unit 3: How are humans and the ocean interconnected? covers life science and environmental science themes, with a specific focus on how humans use the ocean, pollution, fisheries, and how people can help care for life in the ocean.

The Curriculum Sampler example lesson (PDF, 22.1MB) provides you with the Teachers Guide pages for one session of the curriculum, an in-depth introduction to the curriculum Sequence, and a complete set of session summaries.

Visit the Discovery Store at Lawrence Hall of Science to purchase the curriculum.

Contact Sarah Pedemonte for more information on curriculum implementation and professional learning opportunities.

Ocean Sciences Sequence 3–5 Resources: Contains links to videos, computer simulations and lists of other recommended materials that support and supplement this curriculum.

Funded by NOAA, the Ocean Sciences Curriculum Sequences are in-depth, kit-based curriculum units, that deliver rich science content correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), with an emphasis on the Practices of Science as called for in NGSS and the Framework for Science Education K–12, and significant overlap with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The curriculum provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in investigations and make evidence-based explanations. They are designed in accordance with the latest research on learning and were classroom-tested by teachers across the United States in a wide variety of settings.