Growing the next generation of ocean stewards

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP) are fun, environmentally-minded and solution-oriented lesson plans created with informal educators in mind. These activities help students and educators understand what’s beneath their hull. 

The future of the ocean rests not only in our actions, but also in those of the generations that follow in our footsteps. Nourish curiosity in kids and encourage them to explore their surroundings with KELP.

Based on the Seven Principles of Ocean Literacy from the National Marine Educator’s Association (NMEA), KELP connects young sailors to the marine environment.

These lesson plans are an integral part of Sailors for the Sea’s mission to foster the next generation of ocean stewards. Use them when weather conditions aren’t suitable or in educational settings to promote awareness of ocean health issues. Sailors for the Sea collaborates with leading marine institutions and organizations to create dynamic and relevant lesson plans designed to foster environmental ethics in the classroom. 

Jellyfish, All Ages

Students model the effects of more advanced technology on the population sizes of fish.

A fun scavenger hunt that gives students understanding of what can be found on beaches, giving an introduction to beach ecology and the role of manmade objects.

A creative game that shows the effects of longline fishing on the health of the ocean ecosystem.

An activity that plays with light at different depths of the ocean and discusses adaptations organisms have made for different light conditions.

A simple matching game for visually identifying fish and gaining an understanding of which can be sustainably harvested.

A game of freeze tag that gives an understanding of the interaction of oyster reefs and toxic waste (pollution) in the water.

A tag inspired game that demonstrates how plastics and the chemicals in plastics are biomagnified to reach our dinner plates.

Students illustrate the effects of the land use in a watershed by simulating development of their own riverfront property.

Students will learn about the anatomy of coral and the unique symbiotic relationship between corals and zooxanthellae by building an edible coral polyp.

A game of Jenga that demonstrates the marine food web and the impacts humans have on the food web.

Students build a globe to demonstrate a mass coral spawning event.

Students create plankton with craft materials and race them in a large container of water. Slowest plankton wins!

A fun game teaching students how fish and other ocean creatures camouflage into their surroundings.

Students creat a "blubber glove" to mimic the importance of blubber to whales living in frigid water.

An activity that demonstrates how baleen whales, such as Right Whales, use skim feeding to capture their prey.

Students build monoculars to view their surroundings from the prespectivie of a whale. 

Green Sea Turtles, Ages 6 to 9

Students create mini-coastal environments and introduce nutrients to see what happens in the estuaries where fresh and salt water meet.

Students learn about the water cycle and the principles of filtering water by designing and building their own filters, then testing them with "dirty water."

A hands on activity that illustrates the different sources of sand including biological, geological and man-made.

Students learn about the variation of size and type of marine organisms in the local marine and freshwater environments by building dip and plankton nets.

Students carry out a beach transect, learning about the prevalence and sources of plastic pollution in the oceans. 

Students figure out what season it is based on maps of sea surface temperature and phytoplankton growth. 

An interactive activity demonstrating the effects of ocean acidification on shelled marine organisms, the ocean food web and to humans.

A hands on activity that illustrates how marine creatures have adapted to survive the extreme conditions between the rocky shoreline tide marks

Hammerhead Sharks, Ages 12 and up

Students participate in a mock debate that highlights many of the groups who use the ocean's natural resources and introduces Law of the Sea principles.

Students create a cutout model of a clam to investigate the anatomy and physiology of these animals.

This activity demonstrates Thermohaline Circulation throughout the world's oceans and the relative densities of cold and warm waters.

This activity uses an interactive narrative to illustrate the different sources of pollution, historic and modern, to a body of water.

Students create a simple scientific instrument and learn about the role of sediment in their local waters.

A fun board game designed to learn the three ways rocks can form.

An interactive game where students cycle as carbon between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.

Students use thier own exhaled breath and a red cabbage pH indicator to visualize how our oceans are becoming more acidic. 

Which type of ice causes a rise in sea level when it melts: formations on land, like glaciers, or formations in the water, like icebergs?