ALEX Lesson Plan


Marine Ecology Video Scavenger Hunt

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Antwuan Stinson
System: College/University
School: Alabama State University
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33246


Marine Ecology Video Scavenger Hunt


In what complex ways do different species interact in order to survive?

Students analyze videos to make observations about species, populations, and communities of organisms and discuss their symbiotic relationships. Then they create a hypothetical marine ecosystem and describe the adaptive, trophic, and symbiotic relationships between the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (9-12) Marine Biology Elective
6. Describe components of major marine ecosystems, including estuaries, coral reefs, benthic communities, and open-ocean communities.
SC (9-12) Marine Biology Elective
7. Identify patterns and interrelationships among producers, consumers, scavengers, and decomposers in a marine ecosystem.
SC2015 (9-12) Biology
7. Develop and use models to illustrate examples of ecological hierarchy levels, including biosphere, biome, ecosystem, community, population, and organism.

Local/National Standards:

National Science Education Standards

• (9-12) Standard C-4
Interdependence of organisms
• (9-12) Standard D-1
Energy in the earth system
• (9-12) Standard F-4
Environmental quality

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will:

  • use scientific terminology to describe the ecological principles occurring in a variety of marine ecosystems
  • infer that different marine ecosystems are characterized by the same ecological processes, including interdependence, niche selection, and adaptation
  • describe specific ways in which species, populations, and communities of organisms are interdependent and interact with one another and with their environment
  • discuss ways in which humans interact with and impact marine ecosystems

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Computer with Internet access and projector

Interactive whiteboard

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with internet access and projector to access the national Geographic website [here]

Interactive whiteboard


Marine ecosystems and the organisms, habitats, and relationships that comprise them are highly diverse, but the ecological principles that characterize them are similar. Several interacting biotic and abiotic components determine the trophic characteristics, symbiotic relationships, adaptive strategies, niche selection, and interdependent relationships among marine communities. Humans can impact these ecosystems in positive and negative ways, and the importance of anthropogenic interactions is a growing aspect of marine research.


1. Introduce the activity using a KWL chart.

Provide each student with a copy of the Marine Ecology Video Scavenger Hunt worksheet and divide them into groups of four. Give each group a large sheet of paper to create a KWL chart based on the key terms listed at the top of the worksheet. Ask groups to draw the “K” column of their chart and then discuss and write down what they Know about the key terms. Observe and facilitate student groups and then have them draw the “W” column on their chart. Ask them to write down what they Want to know about the key terms. Instruct them to list terms they are unfamiliar with or questions they might have. In small groups or as a whole class, address student questions.

2. Show students the four videos and have them complete the Video Scavenger Hunt worksheet.

Read aloud the directions for the worksheet. Instruct students to pay close attention to the ways in which species, populations, and communities of organisms are interdependent and interact with one another and with their environment. Then, for each video segment complete the following steps:

  • As a class, have students use the Water Planet Mega Map, included in the World Physical MapMaker Kit, to geolocate the ecosystem in the video (Antarctic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Monterey Bay, California, United States, Everglades, Florida, United States).
  • Introduce the video and focus student attention on the five key terms they will need to use in their description of the ecological concepts addressed in the video.
  • Ask students to complete their worksheets individually as they watch the video and afterward review their responses as a group.
  • Ask groups to draw the “L” column of their chart and then discuss and write what they Learned from watching the video.

3. Have a whole-class discussion about students’ observations and KWL charts.

After all the videos have been viewed, student worksheets are completed, and group discussions have concluded, follow up with a class discussion. Ask each group to report what they learned using what they have written in the “L” column of their charts. Ask if there are still things they want to know. Clarify any questions or misconceptions and address important ecological principles that students may have overlooked.

4. Conclude the activity and discuss how humans impact marine ecosystems.

Explain to students that, although the videos represent very different marine ecosystems, the ecological themes—especially interdependence and interactions—are similar and are an essential part of characterizing and supporting these diverse ecosystems. Ask students to discuss the ways humans interact with and impact marine ecosystems in the videos. Ask: Can you think of ways humans impact other marine ecosystems? Explain.

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Assessment Strategies

Evaluate student comprehension:

  • based on students' written responses in the KWL charts
  • by using the provided answer key to check students' completed worksheets


Choose another National Geographic video about ecosystems and see if students can use all of the key terms to describe the ecological principles presented in the video.



Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.