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Marine Biomes & Water Pollution Lesson Plans



This comprehensive set of environmental science lesson plans and activities will introduce your students to the topics of marine biomes, wetlands, and water pollution. Human impacts on the environment are interwoven through each lesson to provide students with a good basis for any environmental science or APES course. A PowerPoint, guided notes, web-quests, doodle notes, activities, extension pages, and assessments are all included in this lesson. All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.


What’s included in these Marine Biome & Water Pollution Lesson Plans?

  • 10 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 PowerPoint (42 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 5 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 2 web-quests with corresponding student pages for independent learning
  • 2 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • 7 Activities:
    • Group Discussion: Commercial Fishing & Aquaculture
    • Research a Fish Project
    • Oil Spill Clean-up Simulation Lab
    • Effects of Oil on Marine Life Research Activity
    • Sources of Water Pollution Card Sorting Activity
    • Water Quality Testing Lab (outdoors)
    • Group Activity: Wetland Mitigation (outdoors)
  • 6 Extension Pages:
    • 2 Digging Deeper extensions for critical thinking: Coral Bleaching, Microplastics
    • 3 Data Analysis extensions to practice interpretation of graphs & math integration: Photosynthesis in the Oceans, Maximum Sustainable Yield, Mismanaged Plastic
    • 1 Case Study: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  • 1 quiz through Google Forms for automatic online grading
  • 24 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review
  • Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)
  • Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration
  • Answer keys and grading rubrics for all student pages


What topics are included in this unit?

Marine Biomes

  • Types of aquatic biomes (saltwater, freshwater, estuaries)
  • Adaptations for the intertidal zone
  • Ocean productivity and nutrients in ocean food webs
  • Ocean zones (euphotic, disphotic, aphotic)
  • Light penetration in ocean
  • Oil spills and clean-up methods
  • Aquaculture v. Fishing, maximum sustainable yield
  • Coral bleaching

Wetlands & Water Pollution

  • Water Quality
  • Point-source v. nonpoint-source pollution
  • Microplastic pollution
  • Oxygen sag curve and nutrient pollution
  • Effects of pollution on aquatic ecosystems (thermal pollution, sediment pollution, nutrient pollution, chemical pollution, biological pollution)
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Bioaccumulation v. biomagnification
  • Bioassays and LD50
  • Characteristics of wetlands
  • Environmental benefits of wetlands


The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-7, HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-3HS-ESS3-4HS-ESS3-6HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3, HS-ETS1-4, HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-5, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-6. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.

*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*


What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 1.3: Aquatic Biomes
  • 1.19: Trophic Levels
  • 5.1: Tragedy of the Commons
  • 5.8: Impacts of Overfishing
  • 5.12: Introduction to Sustainability
  • 5.16: Aquaculture
  • 8.1: Solutions to Pollution
  • 8.2: Human Impacts on Ecosystems
  • 8.3: Endocrine Disruptors
  • 8.4: Human Impacts on Wetlands and Mangroves
  • 8.5: Eutrophication
  • 8.6: Thermal Pollution
  • 8.7: Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • 8.8: Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification
  • 8.11: Sewage Treatment
  • 8.12: Lethal Dose 50% (LD50)
  • 8.14: Pollution and Human Health
  • 9.6: Ocean Warming
  • 9.7: Ocean Acidification

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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