One Ocean

One Ocean was developed to support teachers in teaching topics with real-world context, and provide them with the background to feel competent and comfortable when teaching about the ocean. 

Rachel J. Fisher
E. Tucker Hirsch
Amanda P. Jaksha
Marcia S. Matz
Meghan E. Marrero
L. Jeremy Richardson
Tara G. Treiber
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Southern California Edison
Heal the Bay
National Geographic
Lean Harbors
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Publication Year
Resource Type
Instructional Material
Number of Pages
Product Type

Life on Earth would not be possible without the ocean. When viewed from space, our planet is a world covered with water. All living things are intimately tied to this water in so many ways. Yet, despite its importance, a 2003 report by the Pew Oceans Commission determined that the United States' general public knows very little about the ocean.

But why is this important? To understand how the ocean impacts our lives daily, we need to understand how it influences weather and climate, that its inhabitants produce much of the oxygen we breathe, that the life found in the ocean feeds us, and how its currents are used to connect humans around the Earth, as well as the myriad of ocean life forms that inspire and amaze us. When a person is literate in how the ocean impacts humanity on a daily basis, they are given the tools to better protect the ocean through their daily behaviors and their voting habits.

This guide was developed to support teachers in teaching topics with real-world context, and provide them with the background to feel competent and comfortable when teaching about the ocean. It provides a solid introduction to the ocean and the ocean literacy principles in an accessible and reader-friendly manner. In addition to general information about the ocean, the guide includes numerous education features, such as teaching tips and student thinking, that help to connect the content to classroom practice.

To access the resource in separate chapters, visit:

What the experts say

One Ocean will inspire any instructor of adult education; it is an excellent resource for teachers, and by extension, adult education students. It is very applicable to adult education to support direct instruction of English language arts and math using science as its context; preparation for high school equivalency exams that test science content and practices; individual teacher professional development to increase teacher knowledge of basic science, hands-on classroom activities, and integration of technology in the classroom; and small group teacher study circles using the resource as a whole or through select chapters (e.g., chapters 1, 2, and 7). This is a great document for members of the general public as well. We all can learn more about the environment, and the ocean is a major driver of Earth's systems.

This resource will enhance the teaching of science for its relevance to Earth's systems, the water cycle, climate/weather, biodiversity, health concerns (both human health and that of wildlife), habitat destruction, human impact on the ocean, changes in ocean temperature and chemistry (leading to major environmental concerns), and possible solutions to several problems. Vetted by scientists, the content is exciting, and every effort has been made to connect science to classroom topics and activities.  The teaching resources have also been piloted and evaluated thoroughly.

This product is filled with charts, tables, diagrams, maps, and other resources with which to integrate mathematics, geography, history, and environmental topics within the study of the ocean. There is a standards table to link the content and the activities to learning standards by grade level (this translates easily to adult education).  Other features include case studies, a section of classroom activities/experiments, teaching tips, and examples of formative assessments and student thinking. One feature, In the Classroom, highlights classroom activities, with materials lists, directions, discussion questions, and online resources. These hands-on classroom activities illustrate basic science concepts, for example, understanding scale in “How Big Is the Ocean” (p. 13) and “Density” (p. 20); the hydraulic cycle in “Water's Journey to My Glass” (p. 36); and consumer impact in “Shopping for Solutions” (p. 71). The Student Thinking sections describe how and where students' thinking might get off track. In addition, there are Teaching Tips that include, among other things, simple models and metaphors for unfamiliar information. There are additional teaching resources that are available online and lend themselves to integrating technology into learning.

Each chapter ends with a list of references for the scientific content of the chapter. These include an extensive list of articles in peer-reviewed scientific periodicals, including Science, The Ocean Project, BioScience, Estuaries, Limnology & Oceanography, The Royal Society (London), and reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The content of this teacher's guide relies on solid scientific experimentation, evidence, and analysis. At the end of the resource is a glossary of newer scientific terms and a list of questions that teachers can use to facilitate their discussions.

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