Unit Marine Mapping

A glimpse of some of the fish and marine life at the Bunaken Marine Park.
Students learn the importance of habitat mapping and animal tracking
Copyright © GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.1 Japan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_protected_area#/media/File:Bunaken_Marine_Park.JPG


The marine environment is unique and because little light penetrates under water, technologies that use sound are required to gather information. The seafloor is characterized using underwater sound and acoustical systems. Current technological innovations enable scientists to further understand and apply information about animal locations and habitat. Remote sensing and exploration with underwater vehicles enables researchers to map and understand the sea floor. Similar technologies also aid in animal tracking, a method used within science and commercial industries. Through inquiry-based learning techniques, students learn the importance of habitat mapping and animal tracking.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

Students learn how technologies developed by engineers are improving the ability of scientists and other researchers to learn about the unknown frontier of marine environments.

Unit Overview

Lesson 1, Habitat Mapping, and its associated activity, Map That Habitat, is an introduction to habitat mapping and how technology aids in the process.

Lesson 2, Marine Animal Tracking, and its associated activity, Acting Out Animal Tracking: Map-a-Buddy, is an introduction to the ideas and implications of animal tracking, such as those found within science and commercial industries.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

See individual lessons and activities for standards alignment.


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Unit Schedule

More Curriculum Like This

Middle School Lesson
Habitat Mapping

Students learn about technologies used for underwater mapping, such as benthic habitat images produced by GIS. They participate in a class discussion on why habitat mapping is useful and how current technology works to make bathymetry mapping possible. Through inquiry-based questions, students brain...

Middle School Lesson
Marine Animal Tracking

Students are introduced to the ideas and implications of animal tracking, which is useful within scientific and commercial industries. Students are engaged in an activity to monitor animal foraging behavior on a spatial scale by working in groups to track each others' movements as they travel a pre...

Middle School Activity
Map That Habitat

Student teams replicate the creation of seafloor bathymetry by taking a simplified form of soundings of an unseen seafloor model inside a shoebox and translating their collected data into a visualization of the topography, enabling them to better understand and appreciate modern remote sensing.


© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Duke University


Kimberly Goetz, Nicholas School of the Environment; Jonelle Stovall, Pratt School of Engineering; Melissa Sanderson, Pratt School of Engineering; Heather Kerkering, Nicholas School of the Environment

Supporting Program

Engineering K-PhD Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University


This content was developed by the MUSIC (Math Understanding through Science Integrated with Curriculum) Program in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University under National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. DGE 0338262. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the NSF, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: February 17, 2018

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