I get questions all the time about the pacing and units included in marine science, and it makes total sense! Many teachers who teach marine science were assigned the class randomly or with no prior experience. And because marine science is often taught as an elective course, there are not as many resources out there to help. If you are new to teaching marine science, let’s look at how to organize your course and a sample pacing guide.
Which Branch of Marine Science are You Teaching?
Before you can plan your pacing guide, you first need to figure out which branch of marine science you will focus on or if you will have a mix of both. There are two main branches of teaching marine science: oceanography and marine biology. Both of these could be a whole course on their own.
Oceanography studied the physical and chemical properties of the ocean and abiotic (nonliving) ocean factors. In oceanography, you are studying topics like waves, tides, water chemistry, air-sea interactions, seafloor geography, currents, and more.
Marine biology focuses on the biotic (living) factors of the ocean and how they interact. With marine biology, you would teach topics like plants, seaweed, marine invertebrates, marine vertebrates, and marine ecology.
By teaching marine science, you are essentially bringing both oceanography and marine biology together into one course – and as you can imagine, that’s a lot of content! In the pacing guide (which I will break down in a moment), I focus on oceanography in semester one and marine biology in semester two.
Marine Science Pacing Guide
The tricky part about teaching marine science is combining both oceanography and marine biology together. You will not be able to cover it all, so let’s clear that up from the beginning! Instead, I pick some of the biggest topics and units to cover.
Here is a quick overview of my marine science pacing guide –
- History of Marine Science
- Air-Sea Interactions
- Plate Tectonics & Geography of the Ocean Floor
- Properties of Water
- Properties of Seawater
- Challenges of Life in the Ocean
- Marine Ecology and Transfer of Energy
- Marine Primary Producers
- Porifera (sponges)
- Cnidaria & Ctenophora (Jellyfish, Corals, anemone, etc.)
- Coral Reef Building and Human Impact
- Marine Worms (Roundworms and flatworms)
- Mollusca (octopus, squid, oysters, clams, snails, etc.)
- Class Crustacea (crabs, lobsters, shrimp, etc.)
- Echinoderms (Sea Stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, etc.)
- Bony & cartilaginous fish (includes sharks, rays)
- Marine Vertebrates (Mammals, birds, reptiles)
If you want a more detailed and in-depth view of my pacing guide, including what I cover week by week, grab the FREE Marine Science Pacing Guide! This will help you structure your units and fit in all the content – without the stress.
Marine Science Resources
When you’re new to teaching marine science, it can feel overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there! That’s why I share my done-for-you units and resources, so you don’t have to spend hours of your time creating activities and lessons from scratch. Check out some of the marine science resources –
History of Marine Science – Kick off your marine science unit with a look at the history! This resource includes a PowerPoint, guided notes, and assessment to make planning a breeze. You’ll cover topics like reasons for exploring the ocean, ancient oceanographers, and well-known scientists.
Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift – Students will learn about the Big Bang Theory, plate tectonics, mid-ocean ridge, and much more in this unit. You’ll get access to a PowerPoint, guided notes, and an assessment.
Properties of Water – This unit bundle includes a PowerPoint, guided notes, and assessment, so you can plan a unit from start to finish with ease. Cover topics like the geometry of water molecules, cohesion, surface tension, and more.
You can explore all of my marine science resources below!