Join NYSMEAUpcoming EventsContact NYSMEAAnnual Conference 2010

Follow NYSMEA on:
NYSMEA on Linked In NYSMEA on Facebook  NYSMEA on Twitter @NYSMEA
NYSMEA on Blogger

Resources for Educators:
Lesson Plans . Field Trip Destinations . Scholarships & Grants . Internships & Volunteer Opportunities . Professional Development . Citizen Science . sSELF Program . Ripples (NYSMEA members-only)

Resources for Educators > Lesson Plans

Hurricane Resources

The following resources were excerpted from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Information Exchange for Marine Educators listing for November 2012:

Barrier Islands: To Build or Not to Build?

This Internet WebQuest Science website offers a task for students along with research resources and a teacher page.  Students are tasked with developing an educated opinion as to whether or not people should build permanent structures on barrier islands. They learn about the geological and physical nature of barrier islands, and how barrier islands change over time.

Coastal Growth Related Publications

South Carolina Sea Grant offers links to many documents related to coastal growth, including land use, economic development, recreation and tourism, and more.

CoSEE SouthEast Barrier Islands and Estuaries

CoSEE SouthEast offers links to barrier islands and estuaries lessons, activities, and educational resources.

Estuaries 101 Curriculum

Estuaries 101 curriculum modules from NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System feature hands-on learning, experiments, field-based activities, and data explorations.  Each module tells the estuary story through one of three domains - earth, life, or physical science.

Exploring the Environment – Hurricanes and More

The Exploring the Environment online series was developed at the NASA Classroom of the Future™ at Wheeling Jesuit University.  The problems and activities in the modules ask students to address human activities and their impacts upon the environment.
The Severe Weather: Hurricanes! module is geared to students in grades 5-12.  Other modules include water quality, global temperatures, and more.

Folly Beach Educator's Guide

This website, from COASTeam at the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math in South Carolina, is designed to offer basic information on South Carolina's barrier islands.  The site contains introductory images, animation of coastal processes, and beach activities.

Historical Hurricane Tracks

The Historical Hurricane Tracks tool from the NOAA Coastal Services Center is an interactive mapping application that allows you to search and display more than 150 years of historical Atlantic Basin and East-Central Pacific Basin tropical cyclone data.  This updated version allows you to query and display data by storm name, location, and even zip code.

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: Preserving the Stories of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma
is developed and maintained by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans.  The project has collected first-hand accounts of these hurricanes, along with archives of blog postings, podcasts, and on-the scene visual documentation.  Visitors can browse an interactive map of images submitted to the archive and also add their own materials to the existing archive.

Hurricane Information for Educators - Miscellaneous

        Grades 5-8, Hurricanes: 

Hurricane Portal

Hurricanes: The Greatest Storms on Earth
NASA offers these websites with background information, data, images, and weblinks about hurricane formation, anatomy, climatology and more.  The Hurricane web portal is designed for viewing and studying hurricanes with a variety of measurements from satellite-based NASA instruments.

Hurricane Preparedness Websites

NOAA teams up with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Environmental Protection Agency to offer two websites to bolster readiness for hurricane seasons.  StormSmart Coasts assists in identifying what can be done before, during, and after a storm to enhance community resilience.  The sister website, StormSmart Connect, provides a venue for real-time collaboration, allowing users to share documents and expertise.

Hurricane Resources from the BRIDGE

The destruction from hurricanes raises questions in the classroom regarding hurricane frequency, strength, duration and effects.  Teachers can address these questions and examine hurricane data in the following BRIDGE Data Activities:

  • Haunted by Hurricanes - Access National Hurricane Center data to examine long-term hurricane patterns and questions regarding the impact of global climate change  

  • Hurricanes!  - Background information about hurricane formation is featured in this activity, along with introductory hurricane mapping tips 

  • Without an Ark - Learn about some of the short-term and long-term effects of storm flooding on selected freshwater and estuarine organisms using data from the U.S. Geological Survey and plot Hurricane Floyd floods

Hurricane Webinars

The Hurricanes: Science and Society webinar series introduces a range of hurricane topics including the basics of hurricane science, advances in forecasting hurricanes, preparing for an approaching hurricane, and more.  Webinars are archived on the website.

Hurricanes: Science and Society

The Hurricanes: Science and Society website provides information on the science of hurricanes and their impacts on people, buildings, and the environment.  The website offers inquiry-based activities about wind in a hurricane, building a coastal home, and utilizing hurricane imagery.

NASA Hurricane Resources

NASA has developed educational tools including posters, visualizations and graphics, and classroom activities on hurricanes.

The National Hurricane Survival Initiative

A group of organizations, including the National Hurricane Center and the National
Emergency Management Association, have banded together to create the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.  This website offers information about hurricane preparedness to the general public.  The site’s materials are also available in Spanish.

NOAA Hurricane Resources

NOAA’s education resources portal is designed to assist educators in accessing the many educational materials offered throughout NOAA from one centralized interface.  The Hurricanes resource collection includes multimedia resources, lessons and activities, real world data, background information, and much more.

Online Hurricane Tools

The National Ocean Service offers online tools to monitor hurricanes and deliver relevant data before, during, and after a storm.  Tools address water levels, observing systems, imagery, and long-term planning.

Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute website offers materials to teach and learn about aquatic environments.  Topics include What Could a Hurricane do to my Home? and includes classroom activities for grades 1-12.

The Science of Hurricane Sandy

Scientific American's live blog offers updates on the storm and its aftermath, answers readers' questions, and offers personal observations.

Teaching and Learning About Hurricanes

The Learning Network blog from Teaching & Learning with the New York Times offers links to many resources about Hurricane Sandy, along with many links to additional hurricane resources.

Urban Forest Hurricane Recovery

The Urban Forest Hurricane Recovery website from University of Florida Extension offers disaster preparedness and recovery topics.  Chapters include Restoring Trees after a Hurricane, Selecting Coastal Plain Species for Wind Resistance, and much more.  The website links to many other resources available through EDIS (Electronic Data Information Source), including a variety of handbooks and guides.  Be sure to check out Environment under the Topics tab.

Virtual Barrier Island

The Bureau of Economic Geology along with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, has developed a 3-D virtual model of the Gulf of Mexico and Texas coastal environments.  The model can be used in the classroom and by the general public to explore how relative sea level change rise, caused by climate change and other causes, may impact the coastal zone.  The website offers the downloadable 3-D model, a lesson plan, teacher’s introduction, and a virtual reality video which explains how to navigate and manipulate the data within the model.

Virtual Hurricane Classroom

This collection of resources on hurricanes from the SouthEast U.S. Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) includes a selection of activities in which students investigate storm surge, learn hurricane terminology, build and use their own weather instruments, and more.

Wetlands and Hurricanes

This instructional guide from the Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources is designed to provide instructors with lecture materials and resources that examine the complex relationship between wetlands and hurricanes, using Hurricane Katrina as a case study.  The module describes the vulnerability of the Gulf Coast to damage from hurricanes and the role that wetlands and barrier islands play in coastal protection.  Check out the full Wetlands Ecology and Management series.  Note that the materials are still available on this website.

What Animals Do Before a Hurricane

Sylvan Dell Books' Ready, Set... Wait! What Animals Do Before a Hurricane for the younger student is available for review by pdf, and for downloading through their new iPad app (see above).


The aim of this collection is to highlight excellent, relevant, and standards-based lesson plans that focus on local environments and/or are developed by local stakeholders. If you have a lesson plan that you think other teachers would find useful, please send the information to For a great comprehensive national database of lesson plans and educational materials, visit The Bridge.

  • Build A Habitat
    NY Aquarium:
    Students select the elements necessary for a particular animal to survive and make a habitat for the animal.

  • Campus Debris and the Ocean
    NOAA-sponsored Signals of Spring - ACES/U.S. Satellite Laboratory
    Students conduct a survey of the litter on their school campus and relate their findings to marine debris.

  • Can Salt Kill Beans
    NY Aquarium
    An analytical activity in which students learn that most plants cannot grow in salt water.

  • The Carbon Question
    NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    In this module, the fundamental science question, "How much carbon is being stored in the terrestrial part of the earth?" is explored from many vantage points, including studies in local environmental settings and ecosystems and global biomes and measurements from ground based and satellite instruments.

  • Caring for Planet Earth:  The Great Lakes
    Great Lakes Information Network
    Help students assess their water use by analyzing everyday activities.

  • The Changing Hudson Project
    Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
    A web-based, high school curriculum designed by educators and scientists to connect students with current research about the Hudson River.

  • Color Your Catch
    NY Sea Grant
    Kids learn about some Long Island fish species - including blackfish, summer flounder and striped bass - while they color away and draw lines to their favorite catch.

  • Comparing Watersheds 
    What's in Your Water? - The National Water Study Challenge
    NOAA-sponsored Signals of Spring - ACES/U.S. Satellite Laboratory

    Students collect water quality data, using instruments as basic as a thermometer and pH paper, and share data online with schools across the Nation. Activity incorporates topographic maps, watersheds, and water quality measures.

  • Composting in Schools
    Cornell University
    A series of lessons related to composting.  Includes lessons about setting up, using, and studying indoor or outdoor compost piles at school.

  • Connecting to the Standards through Marine Science
    New Jersey Sea Grant
    This activity packet includes middle and high school lesson plans on a variety of topics including weathering and erosion, ocean currents, pH and more.

  • Coral Reefs Endangered
    Science Teacher Research Program
    In this lesson geared toward the Living Environment curriculum, students study coral reefs and simulate the effects of ocean acidification on these diverse ecosystems. 

  • A Disaster in the Making
    New York Times
    Students examine the effects of some of our country’s most famous natural disasters.

  • Dining Out with Fishes and Birds of the Hudson
    NY State Department of Environmental Conservation
    An elementary science lesson focused on adaptations of birds and fishes in which students construct a Hudson River food web.

  • East River Estuary Guide (pdf) and coloring book (pdf)
    Learn all about the East River with these fun and educational resources.

  • Eco-Choices
    Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
    Using the idea that environmental impacts are interrelated, students make decisions for hypothetical towns. They will discover that their decisions have consequences on water quality, air quality, biodiversity and human health; while realizing that air and water movement connect communities. This two hour lesson (which can be divided over 2 class periods) has been used in 5-12 grade classrooms.

  • Effect of the Sun’s Energy on Ocean and Atmosphere NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    This lesson uses authentic data and model to investigate radiative balance within the Earth system. 

  • Elements of Survival
    NY Aquarium
    An activity where students learn about the living and non-living components of a habitat.

  • Examining Freshwater Ecosystems
    Science Teacher Research Program
    A lesson geared for The Living Environment in which students observe the interactions between snails and Elodea and discuss how changes in New York State freshwater environments affect organisms. 

  • Explore YOUR Water Cycle
    Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
    Use this worksheet to guide you (or your students) through using online data resources.

  • Exploring the Estuary! A Teacher’s guide to the New York New Jersey Harbor Estuary Region
    NY Sea Grant

    First produced in 2003, this updated guide highlights regional education organizations providing K-12 estuary-related field trips, lesson plans and classroom activities. The directory aims to introduce educators to the dynamic network of organizations and resources available to help students learn about the harbor.

  • Finding the Salt Front
    NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
    Students will use Hudson River salinity data to create a line graph that shows the location of the salt front, and use math skills to explore how this location varies over time.

  • Fish Communities in the Hudson
    NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
    Students will use tables of fish collection data to draw conclusions about where fish live in the Hudson River estuary.

  • Hazardous Chemicals in Your Neighborhood
    Students will investigate local issues related to hazardous chemicals, including their sources and how to mitigate their effects.

  • Horseshoe Crab Model
    Town of Hempstead Marine Nature Study Area
    Create paper models of horseshoe crabs as your students study this ancient creature.

  • The Hudson’s Ups and Downs
    A perfect opportunity for upper elementary/middle school students to practice reading line graphs while learning about tidal cycles.

  • Hudson Valley Rock Identification
    Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
    Students will learn about the geologic history of the Hudson River Valley.

  • Ice Breakers
    New York Times
    Explore changes in ice caps due to global climate change using hands-on activities.

  • IFISH NY Lesson Plans
    NY Sea Grant
    A series of lessons on topics including food webs, invasive species, adaptations, and more.

  • Invasive Plants and Water Quality
    Adirondack Curriculum Project
    This activity, targeted for Regents Chemistry classes, helps students to examine the effects of invasive plants on water quality.

  • Invasive Species of New York State
    Adirondack Curriculum Project
    This activity leads students through the process of learning about local invasive species.

  • Jamaica Bay Education Resource Directory
    New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan
    Education Coordinating Committee
    This directory offers resource to enhance classroom lessons, field explorations, independent research, professional development and community service activities.

  • Long Island Sound in a Jar
    CT Sea Grant
    96-page illustrated compendium of fun, educational hands-on activities for youth, demonstrating the impacts of humans on aquatic ecosystems. Perfect for youth camp leaders, environmental groups, teachers, and families.

  • Lumpy, Bumpy, Scratchy and Smooth
    NY Aquarium
    An activity in which students explore the body coverings of animals in terms of texture.

  • Marine Science at Work- Case Studies and Youth Action Plans
    New York Sea Grant
    Students make connections between land and water as they examine contaminants and striped bass populations.

  • Marine Nature Study Area Protocol
    Town of Hempstead Marine Nature Study Area
    An excellent resource for teaching students to conduct quadrats, line transects, and then calculate diversity indices. 

  • Math Lessons Using the Hudson
    NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
    These lessons use data from studies of the Hudson River and its creatures to construct word problems that require mathematics skills for their solution. A number of the lessons present information in tables or bar graphs that students must interpret to answer questions.

  • Modeling Beach Erosion
    NJ Marine Sciences Consortium/NJ Sea Grant
    A hands-on activity in which students examine strategies for mitigating beach erosion.

  • New York City Water Quality Assessment Project
    Teachers Network
    Through a structured research activity, students learn about the physical, chemical and biological aspects of water quality.

  • New York Recycles
    New York Department of Environmental Conservation
    An elementary-level activity guide related to recycling.

  • The New York City Waterfront
    New York Sea Grant
    An old but good curriculum book about the history of New York City’s amazing waterfront and its importance.  Students learn science, mathematics, geography and social studies in this interdisciplinary set of lessons that includes hands-on lessons about dredging, groundwater and more.

  • No Impact Project Lessons
    The “No Impact Man” lived with his family in NYC while trying to exert no impact on the environment.  This series of lessons on consumption, energy, food, transportation, and water, encourages students to examine their own impacts and to consider lifestyle choices.

  • North American Indians and Nature
    Hudson River School
    Students will examine the deep connection between Native Americans and their surroundings, and use poetry and art to learn about Hudson River School artists.

  • Project Osprey
    A full activity guide related to this local raptor. 

  • Rollin’ on the River
    National Teacher Training Institute
    Lesson plan explores the importance of the Hudson River to the economic development of the United States.

  • Shaped to Survive
    New York Aquarium
    Students create an animal that is appropriately shaped for survival.

  • Shipping on the Great Lakes
    Ohio Sea Grant
    The Great Lakes are central to the economy of the United States.  In this activity set, students calculate and compare the energy costs of various forms of transportation as they learn about goods transported through some of our Nation’s most important waterways.

  • Signals of Spring – ACES Jeopardy Game
    U.S. Satellite Laboratory
    An interactive Jeopardy game focusing on marine vertebrates, environmental issues, and the National Marine Sanctuaries.

  • Small Watershed Ecology Assessment Project
    Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
    SWEAP introduces middle and high school students to their local land and water environments. Students learn about the factors that determine the quantity and quality of water flowing from any watershed, and the impact this has on aquatic ecosystems.

  • Tracking Marine Animals
    NOAA-sponsored Signals of Spring - ACES/U.S. Satellite Laboratory
    Students use authentic animal tracking data to study the marine animals and their habitats.

  • These Maps are for the Birds
    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
    Combine science and social studies skills to look at land use and how birds in New York State use different habitats.

  • Which Fish Where?
    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
    A middle school lesson plan in which students use tables and graphs to assess the distribution of fish species in the Hudson River.

  • Wind Wisdom for School Power
    An elementary lesson series focusing on the feasibility of wind power in New York State. 

:146 Suffolk Hall Stony Brook . NY . 11794 Phone: 631-632-9216
NYSMEA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
©NYSMEA. All Rights Reserved 2010.