Although it covers nearly three-quarters of Earth, scientists call the ocean our planet's last frontier, and say we know more about the moon than we do about the sea floor. While oceanographers are racing to learn more about the deep secrets of the ocean floor, you can start your ocean journey at the following sites.
"OLogy means 'the study of.' And here on the American Museum of Natural History's OLogy website, you can study and explore many cool Ologies." This particular section is all about Marine Biology at an elementary and middle-school level. For an introduction to oceans, start at "What's the Big Idea." To explore related concepts, follow the little red asterisks that pop open multimedia lessons. Free registration allows you to collect cards from each station, and to submit projects for possible publication.
This index page is a fabulous collection of the best Monterey Aquarium pages for both kids and teachers. My favorites are the live web cams (keep in mind that these operate on Pacific Standard Time), activities and games (from K to 12), and the Video Library (sea otters, penguins, jellies and more.) Another great find is the 168-page printable Sea Searcher's Handbook chock full of articles and hands-on activities.
Secrets of the Ocean Realm brings us fact sheets on dozens of sea creatures (titled Sea Dwellers), classroom activities for grades five through seven (with extensions for elementary and high-school grades) and interactive quizzes to go with each of the nine Sea Dweller sections. Bonus goodie is a free screensaver with ocean sounds for both Windows and Mac.
Secrets@Sea is an interactive adventure story for grades four through seven. Students play the role of Ace, an investigator assigned to examine unusual behaviors in the killer whale population of Alanamorris Strait. As they progress through the game, they complete a number of ocean-related learning activities, which lead to solution of the case. Themes touched upon are: marine mammals and food webs; salmon, herring and plankton; tides, oceans and estuaries; mapping; features of the ocean floor; and currents.
Based on the Wild Reef exhibit at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Shedd Educational Adventures (SEA) brings the ocean to life with fact sheets and multimedia activities and games. To find something that interests you, search by grade level, or wander through the fact sheets (Explorer's Guide.) The games are outstanding (look for them in Interactives) and most come with a list of related resources. For example, Build a Fish (for grades three through six) is accompanied by a lesson plan, and eight printable fact sheets. "Build a Fish by choosing a body, mouth, and color/pattern, then release it into the reef! You can drive your fish around the reef in search of food and to evade predators. Can your fish find enough food without being eaten?"