Sylvia Earle Lesson Plan for Teachers

Sylvia Earle is a legendary oceanographer, marine biologist, activist and author. She was born on August 30th.

Sylvia Earle lesson plan
Credit: (C) Kip Evans/Mission Blue

Students watch the following three films to learn more about Sylvia Earle and her work to protect and revitalize the world's oceans. Then consider the discussion questions and activity. (13 minutes running time)

A Tribute to Sylvia Earle
Producer: One World One Ocean

A tribute to oceanographer Sylvia Earle from One World One Ocean (4:35 minutes)

Our Oceans Narrated by Sylvia Earle

Producer: Jo Priest

A film about the importance of protecting the blue heart of our planet: our oceans (1:53 minutes)

The View Through My Mask

Produced by:Richard Morris

Experience the Ocean through the mask of Dr. Sylvia Earle.        (7:17 minutes)

Students read the following stories and consider the discussion questions and activity. (The hero essay on Sylvia Earle by Sofia Garcia won a t-shirt prize.) 

Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

By: Sofia Garcia
Sylvia Earle is a noted marine biographer and explorer.

Sylvia Earle

By: Daniel from San Diego
Sylvia Earle shows us the ocean's fate can be controlled, whether we make the decision to stop abusing its waters and let the ocean make a recovery.

Read and Listen: This story by Edward Ortiz is available in text and audio. Great for ESL Students. 

Sylvia Earle

By: Edward Ortiz
"The key is to see ourselves as a part of the natural systems that support us."

Discussion Questions

1. Sylvia Earle states that we should all care about the oceans because our lives depend on them. In what ways do humans depend on the ocean?    

2. Sylvia Earle believes one thing we can do is make better choices about the food we eat. What can you do? Create an action plan.   

3. Sylvia Earle was the first woman to be a chief scientist at NOAA. Do you know someone who was the first of their gender, race or family to achieve something? What obstacles did they face and how did they persevere to reach their goal? Share their story with MY HERO.                              

4.  Identify bodies of water in your community/part of the world. Who is working towards keeping these bodies of water clean and protected? Share their story with MY HERO. 


Learning Outcome

Students will develop research and critical thinking skills as they learn more about human dependency on the ocean. Students will evaluate the impact of the food they eat on the health of the ocean. Students will identify people in their part of the world who keep bodies of water clean.

Students analyze the mural below celebrating Sylvia Earle. Who is your environmental hero? Consider creating a mural honoring your hero and submitting it to MY HERO.

Sylvia Earle

By: Ben Macedo

Art Miles Mural by Ben Macedo.

Listen to the song My Blue Heart - A Tribute to Sylvia Earle. Consider honoring your environmental hero by writing a poem or song. Submit your project to MY HERO. 

Whitney Winefordner and Larsen McCarroll

Teachers: Visit MY HERO for additional multimedia curated resources for Sylvia Earle. 

Sylvia Earle Multimedia Resource Organizer


Laura Nietzer

The Sylvia Earle lesson plan was created by MY HERO Teacher and Learning Circle Director Laura Nietzer.

Watch the Sylvia Earle Ocean Award-winning films online. Make a short ocean film and submit it to MY HERO for the 2020 Sylvia Earle Ocean Award. 

Related Pages

World Oceans Day Teacher Lesson Plan

By: Laura Nietzer

World Oceans Day, June 8th, is a way to celebrate our world's shared oceans and our personal connection to the sea, as well as raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives.

External Links

Mission Blue: Sylvia Earle Alliance
Credit: SE

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Organizer created on 7/15/2019 2:46:13 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 4/30/2020 2:45:56 PM by Laura Nietzer