National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey Special Collection: Treasure Trove of Ocean-Themed Classroom Material

The ocean covers 70% of the surface of Earth. It is a vital natural resource that produces food and oxygen, and has been key to trade and exploration for thousands of years. Despite this, our ocean is being damaged by overfishing, pollution, invasive species, acidification, and sea temperature rise. Ocean conservation will be one of the future generation’s defining missions.

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Photography courtesy of George F. Mobley/National Geographic Creative.

We can help! Our National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey Special Collection ( will help hook your students’ curiosity about the ocean, teach them about how National Geographic Explorers are collaborating to tackle these critical issues through projects such as Pristine Seas, and empower them to take action.

National Geographic Education ( has compiled classroom resources for educators to use to teach about the ocean and conservation, and to introduce students to key figures on the front lines of these issues.

The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey Special Collection has ocean-themed activities classified by grade (K-5, 6-8, and 9-12) that align with standards and cover a variety of subjects such as geography, math, and physics; and a high school biology unit, Marine Ecology, Human Impacts, and Conservation.

The collection also includes biographies, articles, and videos about the work of National Geographic Explorers such as the leader of the Pristine Seas project, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, and marine biologist and ocean educator Asha de Vos—the first and only Sri Lankan to earn a Ph.D. in marine mammal-related research.

Examine dynamic ocean-themed GeoStories and access maps to help students understand their geographic relationship to the ocean. Take the exercise further, with the video The World Ocean or the activities Mapping Blue Whale Migration (grades 3-8) or How People Affect Ocean Animals and Plants (grades K-2). If more information is required about a particular topic to build student’s background the page highlights key encyclopedic entries.

Finally, this special collection contains an ocean image galley and a series of image spotlights, which include supporting material such as a detailed description of the image, associated vocabulary words, fast facts, and additional resources.

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Artwork of the Ocean Odyssey experience courtesy of Times Square Attractions Live.

New York City Field Trip?

Check out National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, an immersive experience that uses technology, such as video and photographic animation, to take students on a virtual underwater journey to explore the Pacific Ocean. From Times Square, students can traverse the ocean floor investigating marine ecosystems and interacting with sea life. At the completion of the transect, students resurface to learn more about the creatures and habitats they encountered and the importance of ocean conservation and scientific research.

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