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.

Credit: Michal Strzelecki, Wojtek Strzelecki i Jerzy Strzelecki [CC BY 3.0]


The 2019 Theme for World Oceans Day is Gender and Oceans in order to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, policy-making and management. In keeping with the spirit of this year's theme, we are highlighting women working to preserve our oceans in these areas.

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.

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. 

Closely analyze the photograph by Patsee Ober. What sea life can you identify? What can you do to help protect sea life and our oceans?


By: Patsee Ober

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


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

Environmental science curriculum. Each sub category includes short films and lessons with suggested age levels. Teachers Resource Guide included.

Credit: MY HERO

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 Teacher and Learning Circle Director Laura Nietzer, and features women working towards preserving our world's oceans.

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 10/16/2019 11:19:27 AM by Laura Nietzer