Classroom Adventures

Aquatic Investigators

Explore the ocean ecosystem and impacts we have on the health of Earth’s oceans.

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Grade Level 3-5

Life Science

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Why has the Hawaiian monk seal population left its habitat?

Hawaiian monk seals have gone missing from their usual home in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Commander of an undersea lab needs your students’ help to determine the cause. They’ll work with an expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to become aquanauts and learn about this endangered species and how humans affect their habitats.

As they work to find the answer, an emergency takes place putting the crew at risk. Your students must work as a team to ensure the safety of the crew.

Supplement your science unit with our interactive Aquatic Investigators simulation. Students are placed into teams to conduct research, collaborate to find solutions to urgent challenges, and experience real-world careers: chemist, ecologist, engineer, and marine biologist.

Then, integrate our engineering activity and nonfiction science writing exercise where it fits best to continue students’ understanding of the engineering design process and scientific communication.

While Aquatic Investigators primarily focuses on life science themes, it also integrates Earth science and engineering topics.

“Our kids really enjoyed working in groups to figure out why the Hawaiian monk seal, Eric, was missing from his habitat. It got them thinking about the impacts we have on our planet and changes they can make in their own lives to support our environment.”

– Lauren Cook, Madison Schools (Virginia)

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the interconnectedness of the ocean ecosystem

  • Understand how outside forces impacting the health of the ocean

  • Solve problems using the engineering design process

  • Communicate scientific ideas through non-fiction writing

  • Enhance scientific vocabulary

  • Approximate program time: 1 hour

  • Pre- and post-lesson activities available

  • Closed captioning available

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned

  • Internet connection required

  • Device with audio/video capability required

  • No personal student data collected

  • Online teacher training available

In Partnership and Support

Classroom Adventures was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.

Aquatic Investigators was developed with additional support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).