skip to Main Content

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs Activities

Science [Middle & High School]

A flexible set of activities and lesson plans introducing coral reef science and the methods scientists are currently using to study and conserve coral reefs. Activities employ real world coral reef data sets and publications in an accessible way that enables students to become the observers, researchers, and scientific communicators addressing topics like biodiversity, species interdependence, population interactions, climate and human impacts on the environment.


Click on activity titles below for further details and standards.

Generation Ocean Coral Reefs VR headsets

How Scientists Study Coral Reefs – ENGAGE

Duration: ~20 min

Students use 360 film to take a virtual field trip alongside coral reef scientists. They visit and learn about the research being performed by scientists in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and laboratories at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and University of Miami.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs classroom team activity

Coral Anatomy – EXPLORE

Duration: 10 – 40 mins

Students perform self-guided research on coral anatomy and create a guidebook to key anatomical features of a coral polyp. Through this process, students learn about the symbiotic relationship corals have with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs smartboard activity

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – EXPLAIN

Duration: ~20 mins

Students examine and interpret photo-mosaic imagery from Cheeca Rocks reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Using their background knowledge and observations from these images, they work to identify the nature and causes of change over time on coral reefs.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs teacher instruction

Examine the Literature – EXPLAIN

Duration: ~40 mins

Class led reading and discussion of a peer-reviewed journal article pertaining to the Cheeca Rocks reef site and data featured in the Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs 360 film and Activity 3. Enables students to verify, explain, and interpret the observations made in the review of photo-mosaic imagery.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs scientist classroom visit

The Experts Weigh In – ELABORATE

Duration: ~30 mins

Arrange for an in person or virtual/video-based (e.g. Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts) conversation with a coral reef expert to better understand the life of a coral scientist, the current state of coral reefs, and the work being done to conserve them.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs teaching

Share your Findings – EVALUATE

Duration: 50 – 120 mins

::Coming Soon::

Education Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

MS-LS2-1: Analyze & interpret data to provide evidence for effects of resource availability on organisms & populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of factors that have caused the rise in global temps over past century.

Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

SC.7.L.17.3: Describe and investigate various limiting factors in local ecosystem & their impact on native populations, including food, shelter, water, space, disease, parasitism, predation & nesting sites. (Recognize that certain environmental factors limit size of a population).

SC.7.E.6.6: Identify impact that humans have had on Earth, such as air & water quality. (Identify sources & examples of water pollution & recognize that water cycle carries pollution to many places).

Ocean Literacy Principles

#5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life & ecosystems.

#6: The ocean & humans are inextricably interconnected.

Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs Partners

UMiami CIMAS logo 2022
Back To Top

Please login or register to view ANGARI Education Resources.