Curricular Unit: Marine Mapping

Quick Look

Grade Level: 7 (6-8)

Choose From: 2 lessons and 2 activities

Subject Areas: Earth and Space, Measurement

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.


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 (

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.

NGSS Performance Expectation

MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. (Grades 6 - 8)

Do you agree with this alignment?

Click to view other curriculum aligned to this Performance Expectation
This unit focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria.

Alignment agreement:

Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth's terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem's biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health.

Alignment agreement:

Changes in biodiversity can influence humans' resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

Alignment agreement:

There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

Alignment agreement:

Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

Alignment agreement:

The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time.

Alignment agreement:

Scientific knowledge can describe the consequences of actions but does not necessarily prescribe the decisions that society takes.

Alignment agreement:

Suggest an alignment not listed above

More Curriculum Like This

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...

preview of 'Marine Animal Tracking' Lesson
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...

preview of 'Habitat Mapping' Lesson
Middle School Lesson
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is an intriguing and publicized environmental problem. Through exploring this complex issue, students gain insight into aspects of chemistry, oceanography, fluids, environmental science, life science and even international policy.

preview of 'The Great Pacific Garbage Patch' Lesson
Middle School Lesson
Robots on Ice

Students learn about humankind’s search for life in outer space and how it connects to robotics and engineering. This lesson provides students with intriguing information about far off (distance and time!) space missions and field robotics, and also sets up two associated robotics and arts integrati...

preview of 'Robots on Ice ' Lesson
Middle School Lesson

Unit Schedule


© 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


Free K-12 standards-aligned STEM curriculum for educators everywhere.
Find more at