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Summer Explorer Series: Marine Animals, Sea Creatures & Careers in Science

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Explore the depths of the ocean floor with PBS LearningMedia. Use these featured resources to stimulate classroom discussion about marine animals, aquatic ecosystems, and careers in science. Create a free account for full access to PBS LearningMedia.

Cool Critters: Dwarf Cuttlefish | Video | Grades All
What’s the coolest critter in the ocean under 4 inches long? The Dwarf Cuttlefish! These little guys can change their color and texture, and feeding time is a show like no other. Get an up-close look at these tiny underwater aliens as QUEST visits them at the California Academy of Sciences.

Camouflage and Color | Video | Grades All
Camouflage allows animals to become less visible to their predators or their prey. As a survival strategy, camouflage is dependent upon light in the ocean. Light is limited in the aquatic environment as water molecules interfere with the travel of electromagnetic radiation. This video segment highlights the many adaptations in undersea animals that take advantage of the light and color available to them. The companion lesson plan looks at light energy and how ocean life takes advantage of the limited light and color changes with depth to survive.

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World | Videos | Grades All
This collection includes the content from this national public television series, which has aired since 2008, paired with lesson plans and study guides aligned to National Science Standards. These resources cover academic subject areas including biology, chemistry, math, history and physics. Take your students on a virtual dive adventure while teaching them about how science works both above and below water.


The T. Rex of the Ocean | Video | Grades PreK-1
The Pteranodon family takes the Dinosaur Train underwater to visit a marine reptile called Paulie Pliosaurus, a creature known as the “T. rex of the Ocean”. Learn how Paulie, the marine reptile and Buddy, the T. rex, have many similar features.

I Want to Be a Scientist! | Videos | Grades PreK-2
Using this resource group, students will learn about the many different career possibilities as a scientist. Watch as Sid and the class go on a field trip to the Science Center where they hear from special guests about their jobs. Gabriela’s Mom, Dr. Rosalinda Cordova, is a marine biologist and she tells the kids about her exciting job scuba diving and studying whales. Meet a robotics engineer working on a 20-foot tall robot at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a chemist investigating stretchy ice cream in a kitchen lab, and an astronaut who does engineering in space!

Snorkeling and Ocean Life | Video | Grades PreK-2
Mister Rogers’ shows his new swimming equipment, and goes on a snorkeling trip to explore the ocean environment. After looking closely at fish and other underwater life, the Neighborhood of Make Believe prepares to find a solution for their overflowing garbage.

Oceanographic Center Field Trip | Video | Grades PreK-3
Come with Penny and the KidVision VPK Kids to NSU’s Oceanographic Center and find out about marine science. They learn about coral reefs, sort shrimp by their physical properties, and track a tiger shark.

Song for the Sea Pig | Video | Grades K-8
Who loves the Kronos Quartet? Who loves a sea pig? Now’s your chance to see them BOTH in one video. Students will learn exactly what a sea pig is. Linda Kuhnz at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explains it all.

Seasquatch | Videos| Grades 1-3
Join Chris and Martin as they explore underwater worlds, the food chain of the plants and animals that live there, and some of the amazing characteristics of the fish themselves! Learn about the ocean food chain, the characteristics of creatures such as the angler fish, and even how to build an aquarium!

Sea Creatures | Video | Grades 1-4
The largest and least explored place on earth is in the deep sea below the ocean’s surface. The fish and other sea animals of the deep sea employ many strategies to surprise their prey including ambush and camouflage by blending into the sea environment. The deeper you go in the ocean, the more unusual and unique the fish appear to be. Learn about the ghostly squid, the simulating jelly fish, the viper fish, and the gulper fish (among many others) in this video segment from Nature.

Swimming with Sea Cows | Video | Grades 2-8
When manatees were first seen by Columbus, he thought they were mermaids…but he had been at sea for a long time! Today these gentle marine mammals are threatened by loss of habitat and collisions with boats. This video segment explores the endangered manatees of Florida and their struggle to survive, as well as some of the people who are working to save them. Students will examine and dis¬cuss a 20-year period of synoptic survey data. Please see the accompanying lesson plan for educational objectives, discussion points and classroom activities.

ROV | Interactive Game | Grades 4-6
In this game, learners will explore a coral reef using an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Faced with concerns that environments around the world might be undergoing rapid change in the face of global warming, learners are assigned to use their ROV to investigate the tropical reef and snap photos of the fish species living in its various regions.

Marine Biologist | Video | Grades 4-6
Michelle Jefferies is a marine biologist at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. She specializes in otters, and is concerned about all aspects of these furry swimmers’ diet, grooming, socialization and health. Michelle’s research also focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned or injured otters in the wild.

Aquabots | Video | Grades 5-8
When collecting data it’s important to control as many variables as possible. The Scigirls make sure that they are collecting the same amount of data in the two different oyster reefs and take notes on the observations they make about what the different habitats look like.

Splendid Sea Slugs | Video | Grades 5-8, 10
Nudibranchs are sea slugs. They are soft-bodied animals, and like clams, snails and squid, they are mollusks. Nudibranchs belong to phylum Mollusca, class Gastropoda, order Nudibranchia. Found in oceans all over the world, they range in size from .25 inch to longer than a foot. There are more than 3,000 known species of nudibranchs, and they come in all colors, from bright blue to pink to white with orange polka dots.

Georgia Sea Turtles | Video | Grades 6-8
All animals should have it as good as the patients at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where the staff is doing some richly rewarding work! The highlight of our visit was shooting a surgical procedure on an injured sea turtle named Sendac. In addition, we took a guided tour, shot behind the scenes, and interviewed the center’s director, nursing staff, and more. Teachable Moments include a definition and explanation of Ecosystems, and a description of why honey is a great substance for treating turtle wounds.

Build-a-Fish | Interactive Game| 6-8
In this interactive activity from Shedd Aquarium, design a fish that has the right adaptations, or traits, to help it survive in a reef environment. Choose a body, mouth, and color/pattern, then release your fish into the ocean reef to search for food and evade predators. Steer your fish around the reef to see how well it survives with the traits that you gave it.

Global Ocean Circulation | Video| 6-12
In this video from NOVA: “Earth From Space,” learn about patterns of global ocean circulation, which distribute heat around the planet.
Visualizations show the constant motion and flow of ocean currents. The ocean and the atmosphere are closely connected and are responsible for maintaining Earth’s relatively stable climate, providing a hospitable environment for life.

The Amazing Oyster Reef | Video| 6-12
There are many ways to protect coastlines, and in this video, see why oyster reefs are one of the most important lines of defense we have. In many marsh and sea-grass environments, the balance of the ecosystem is maintained due to the shelter provided by oyster reefs, but human impact has caused a massive decline of natural oyster formations in the last century. See how humans are working together to build artificial oyster reefs, and learn about the benefits of using natural resources to save these sensitive coastal ecosystems.


Coral Reefs | Video| 8-12
Coral reefs the world over are threatened by pollution, rising ocean temperatures, and overfishing. In Cuba, however, reefs are flourishing. This video from Nature follows a marine biologist as he explores the variety of corals, fish and other wildlife in Cuba’s tropical waters, and considers why Cuba’s reefs are so healthy in comparison with those in the to the rest of the world.

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