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Narrative Writing, Research


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


English Language Arts


135 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Hawai'i


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Biodiverse Ocean Organisms

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 12, 2024
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In this lesson, students examine the relationship between climate change, coral reefs, and ocean organisms, strengthening their sense of responsibility and Hawai’i.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students learn about current threats to the ocean, summarize their observations of zooxanthellae, and develop connections between their favorite ocean hobby and threats to ocean life. 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students explore the role of coral reefs in maintaining biodiversity through a jigsaw-style reading and create a one-page group summary.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students research a local ocean organism and create a first-person narrative exploring the connections between climate change, coral reefs, and their oceanic organisms.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson aligns with Hawai'i's Nā Hopena A'o HĀ-BREATH Framework.

  • Students learn that carbon dioxide emissions have caused ocean waters to warm and become more acidic, damaging coral reefs around the world.

  • Students learn the connection between corals, ocean biodiversity, and coastal regions susceptible to erosion and storm surge.

  • The lesson explains the structure and function of coral reefs with strong visuals, animations, interviews, and narration.

  • Students utilize AVID strategies to increase engagement and literacy.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video Stand Up for Our Ocean presents an overview of the symbiotic relationship between coral and zooxanthellae, but teachers may want to elaborate on how zooxanthellae are related to coral bleaching.

  • Students will need poster boards and markers or other writing materials.

  • Students will need a device to complete their presentations.


  • Students could research the types of organisms that live in coral reefs and make a slideshow to show how coral bleaching affects the other organisms that live in coral ecosystems.

  • Social studies classes could discuss the impact that coral reef destruction has on coastal erosion, storm surge protection, tourism, and the fishing industry.

  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive video on the factors that contribute to coral bleaching, this lesson on the importance of coral ecosystems, and this activity on resistance to coral bleaching.
Scientist Notes

Students can learn about species like zooxanthellae and their place in the ocean environment through this lesson. Additionally, they will learn about the main dangers to coral reefs and how to rebuild biodiversity in the marine ecosystem. The lesson has passed our science credibility process after being examined along with all the related materials, videos, and resources.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Science
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PI.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically. The content, organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • SL.UM.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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