The ocean covers 71 percent of our planet. Ocean scientists, educators and policy specialists came together to define ocean literacy and to create seven principles.
‘Ocean literacy is defined as an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.’
1. The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
2. The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.
3. The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
4. The ocean made the Earth habitable.
5. The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
6. The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
7. The ocean is largely unexplored.
How can we, as educators, do a better job of incorporating these seven fundamental truths about the ocean into our curriculum?
Here’s good place to start. This website offers a comprehensive overview that explains the seven ocean principles while also providing concepts and topics for different grade levels.
Shape of Life offers you lots of content that celebrates the great diversity of life and ecosystems in our oceans (principle #5). Take a look at the phyla section and you’ll discover a world of information about principle #5..
The framework for “the ocean made the Earth habitable (Principle #4)” addresses the origins of life and evolution of animals in the ocean. Shape of Life has videos and lesson plans about the first animal, the sponge; and the Cambrian Explosion and paleontologists studying fossils that provide evidence for evolution and the Importance of the ocean in the evolution of life on earth.
Our cnidarian-deep sea research section informs us of how much more we have yet to learn from our oceans (principle#7). A good way to keep up on the latest in ocean exploration is to tune into NOAA’s Ocean Explorer. Our friends at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute also offer mind-blowing videos.
“Knowledge of the ocean is more than a matter of curiosity. Our very survival may hinge upon it.” John F Kennedy