World Oceans Day Teacher Lesson Plan

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 and the important ways people can help protect it. Resources are organized by Grade Level.

World Oceans Day Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO

Featured Resources for Younger Elementary Students. These films have a run time of approximately 19 minutes)

All the Way to the Ocean

Produced by:Joel Harper

A story about two friends and their discovery of the relationship between our cities' storm drains and the world's oceans, lakes and rivers. (10:00 min. run time)

The Plastic Perils of The Pacific

Produced by:Brandon & Carlene Strathmann

Pollution is not a species-specific problem. (4:00 min run time)

MABON ‘The 8 year old activist’

Jack Davies

Our world has a serious ocean plastics problem. There are now a higher number of plastics in the ocean than the number of fish. (4:39 min run time)

Discussion Questions

1. Why is plastic bad for the ocean and other waterways?

2. What can you do to protect the ocean from plastic? What can your school do?

Films for Upper Elementary Students (These films have a total run time of approximately 20 minutes)

Plastic Plague

Produced by:Jody Lemmon

Plastic pollution is threatening the ocean's ecosystems, but we can work together to prevent further damage! (4:46 minutes run time)

MABON ‘The 8 year old activist’

Jack Davies

Our world has a serious ocean plastics problem. There are now a higher number of plastics in the ocean than the number of fish. (4:39 minutes run time)

The Last Straw

Lynne Cherry

Nine-year-old Milo Cress is concerned about the millions of straws that pollute waterways, waste fossil-fuel resource,s and harm ocean creatures. (4:28 minutes run time)

Olivia's Birds and the Oil Spill

Produced by:Lynne Cherry

Young Olivia loves birds and creates over 500 paintings of her feathered friends to raise funds for Audubon's bird rescue. (6:44 minutes run time)

Discussion Questions

1. Why is plastic bad for the health of our oceans? How has this problem developed over time? What can be done to improve the situation?

2. In the film The Last Straw, Milo Cress identified a problem, got others involved, and created an action plan. Are there ways you can be inspired by Milo and reduce the use of straws where you live?

3. What else is bad for the ocean and marine life?

4. Mabon and his mother clean the beaches where they live. Is there an area near where you live that has trash or is overgrown? Is there anything you or your class can do?


Featured Resources for Middle and High School Students

MY HERO recommends reading the essay and viewing the film below to learn more about marine biologist Sylvia Earle, founder of the Sustainable Seas Project, and consider the discussion questions.

Sylvia Earle

By: Edward Ortiz

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

The View Through My Mask

Produced by:Richard Morris

Experience the Ocean through the mask of Dr. Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. (running time 7:17 minutes)

Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award
Credit: Hodinkee

Discussion Questions

1.How does Sylvia Earle explain the ocean as a living system?

2.  What does Sylvia Earle mean by the statement that the greatest threat to our oceans is "ignorance, lack of understanding and our failure to relate our destiny to that of the sea"?

3. 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.

MY HERO recommends viewing Laguna Beach Eco Heroes: Nancy Caruso, also known as the Kelp Lady, and analyze the Henry the Harbor Seal photograph. Discuss the role of kelp in a healthy ocean ecosystem and how a healthy ocean benefits us all. Do you know any environmental heroes working towards healthy ecosystems in your community? Share their story with MY HERO.  

Laguna Beach Eco Heroes: Nancy Caruso

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

Nancy Caruso aka "The Kelp Lady" has worked hard to restore the kelp off of the shores of Orange County. (running time 3:22 minutes)

Henry the Harbor Seal by Alex Cowdell, Laguna Blue

By: Alex Cowdell

The Laguna Bluebelt honored this photograph in its annual ocean photography competition because it aptly captured the harbor seal in the kelp forest.

MY HERO recommends reading, or listening to, this essay by Wendy Jewell about her hero, Rachel Carson. Rachel Carson is the author of Under the Sea-Wind: A Naturalists Picture of Ocean Life and The Sea Around Us. She is credited by many as the mother of the environmental movement.  She raised awareness of the danger to the environment, as well as health risks, from the use of chemicals. After reading the essay, take a close look at her portrait by Robert Shetterly. 

Rachel Carson

By: Wendy Jewell .

                                Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring,                                         was the mother of the environmental movement. Story available in text with audio allowing students to listen as they read along. 

Rachel Carson raised awareness of the environmental and health risks associated with the proliferating use of chemicals.

By: Robert Shetterly

Students read the essay Help Mary Save Coral and watch the two videos Help Mary Save Coral and Defending the Deep about two women heroes protecting the world's marine life. Then consider the discussion questions.

Help Mary Save Coral

By: Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

Help Mary Save Coral works to repopulate the world's coral.

Help Mary Save Coral

Produced by:Miranda Andersen from CANADA

One woman's effort to save the world's underrated natural resource, coral. (running time 10:58 min)

Defending The Deep

Will Parrinello

Claire Nouvian led a campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling. (running time 5:39 min)

Discussion Questions

1. What impact has the work done by heroes Claire Nouvian, Rachel Carson and Mary Hagedorn had on marine life and the world's oceans?  

2.  What is your opinion about deep-sea bottom trawling fishing? Research alternatives.

3. What bodies of water are in your community? Do you know any heroes working to preserve these? Share their story with MY HERO. 

Additional film resources 

Meet the Filmmaker - Ocean Heroes

Nina Clare Constable
Conservation photographer, Nina Constable, talks about her work as a videographer, her passion for nature and wildlife .

Blue Ventures

Gabriel Diamond

In 2004, marine biologist Alasdair Harris encouraged a coastal Madagascar community to close off a small section of their octopus-fishing area for a few months to see if this would boost productivity.

What can the UK learn from Sussex's inshore bottom trawling ban?

Michael Dorgan
Through this film, Oceana calls on the UK government to introduce such a ban on bottom trawling along the whole UK coast and in all marine protected areas

Ocean Hero Spotlight

Jessica Vance
Oluwaseyi Moejoh from Nigeria and Heather Brockbank from the Bahamas share their stories of ocean activism.

Rise From the Cape Flats

Shamier Magmoet
Shamier Magmoet overcomes difficulty and learns to educate youth to experience the ocean, becoming advocates and protectors of therof.

Stories available in English, Spanish and French

Jacques Cousteau

By: Jeff Trussell

Jacques Cousteau pioneered marine conservation, underwater sea explorer, born 1910. [This story is also available in Spanish and French.]

Sylvia Earle

By: Edward Ortiz

"The key is to see ourselves as a part of the natural systems that support us." [This story is also available in Spanish and French.]


Closely analyze the following photographs.

What sea life can you identify?

What can you do to help protect sea life and our oceans?

What attributes make these images powerful?


By: Patsee Ober

Patsee Ober uses her underwater camera to illustrate the rich life beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Rock Bottom by Bryan Greenberg, Laguna Bluebelt

By: Bryan Greenberg

Bryan Greenberg's award winning photo shows the shoreline with its awesome rocks in a powerful and beautiful moment- for the Laguna Bluebelt's conservation efforts

Blue Glass by Noah Munivez, Laguna Bluebelt

By: Noah Munivez

This iconic ocean photo received 1st prize in the Amateur category of the 2018 Laguna Bluebelt contest


Learning Outcomes

Students will learn about interconnected marine life in the world's oceans and the impact of humans on this ecosystem. They will develop research and critical thinking skills as they explore threats to the ocean's ecosystem and ways they can help. 


Teachers: Visit MY HERO for additional Curated Resources for World Oceans Day.

 World Oceans Day Organizer

Featured Films About Ocean Heroes

Additional Resources and Curriculum

Ecological Interactions and Biodiversity of Kelp Forest Curriculum

Ecological Interactions and Biodiversity of Kelp Forest Curriculum
Credit: A Kelp Perspective by Sean Hunter Brown

Know Your Seafood- Sustainable Fish Choices Poster

Know Your Seafood
Credit: One World, One Ocean


Laura Nietzer

The World Oceans Day lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer. 

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 5/7/2019 2:07:17 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 5/23/2022 12:43:07 PM by Laura Nietzer