Ocean for Life Assessment Criteria for Teachers and Parents

Drafted October 2002


Summary of 4th grader knowledge meeting ocean literacy standards for teachers:


·        Describe oceanic features (e.g., list the similarities and differences between lakes, rives, wet lands and oceans)

·        Use a map to locate major US rivers and oceans.

·        Describe what is the continental shelf or describe the difference between low and high tides.

·        Present reasons for why a beach closure occurs.

·        Present two sides of why we should or should not eat fish?

·        Compare life in rivers versus oceans?

·        Make simple comparisons showing similarities and differences between lakes and the ocean.

·        Explain why people like to live near lakes, rivers or the ocean (e.g., weather, recreation, wildlife)

·        Use the Internet or newspapers/magazines to find articles/pictures/current events about the ocean (e.g., whale migrations, recreation opportunities, places to visit)

·        Participate effectively in a collaborative learning situation (e.g, make a classroom mural of a sandy/rocky shore or kelp forest)

·        Explain how Native Americans and other people of other cultures used the oceans or rivers in their lives (e.g., food, transportation, or other aspects of their lives).

·        Be able to draw a diagram of the interaction of wind and waves.

·        List resources that come from the ocean (e.g., food, minerals, energy, etc.)

·        Use art work or other art forms to demonstrate ocean knowledge (e.g., fish prints, sea chanties)


Summary of 8th grader knowledge meeting ocean literacy standards for teachers:


·        Locate and describe ocean features and resources.

·        Use technology to generate spatial representations at multiple scales e.g.using satellite data to map hurricanes, GIS to track whales and predict migration routes.

·        Define and describe ocean habitats including shorelines, water column, seafloor, nearshore, fresh water, including physical, chemical, biological, geological characteristics.

·        Know about and understand local watershed issues.

·        Know understand concept of marine protected areas and the characteristics of the different types of areas, e.g. national marine sanctuaries, reserves, state parks, no-take areas, national seashores.

·        Understand changes in places and regions over time, from short term to long term, e.g., tides, sedimentation, erosion, sea level change.

·        Understand how Earth/Sun and Earth/Moon relationships affect the oceans (see matrix for examples).

·        Recognize the complexity of ocean physics, e.g., see matrix.

·        Understand geological and biological processes and interactions of the ocean (e.g. matrix, biomes).

·        Understand the various roles that oceans have played in human exploration, settlement, and development, e.g. matrix.

·        Recognize and understand interconnections between atmospheric, land and ocean issues.

·        Understand human influences on the ocean, past, present and future.

·        Describe ocean influences on human activity, e.g. matrix.

·        Discuss current environmental issues as they relate ocean processes.

·        Apply principles of oceanography and understanding of past events to solve current and future environmental problems.



Summary of 12th grader knowledge meeting ocean literacy standards for teachers:


·        Apply mapping, GIS/GPS/RS skills, and technologies to observe and analyze ocean relationships

·        Describe patterns, characteristics, and interrelationships of ocean features and events

·        Analyze the interdependent physical and human processes that affect regional ocean issues and problems

·        Recognize the interdependence of land and ocean

·        Interpret political and historical factors associated with different ocean regions

·        Describe and explain biological and physical processes in oceans and related bodies of water

·        Understand issues related to large scale climate/ocean relationships such as El Niño’s impacts

·        Identify the roles oceans play in economic, social, and political relationships past, present, and future

·        Evaluate human-ocean interactions

·        Identify and describe ways humans modify and affect oceans and other bodies of water

·        Interpret changes in definition and distribution of world ocean resources at different periods of time

·        Use knowledge of ocean-related concepts and generalizations to understanding future uses of the sea

·        Appreciate the roles and importance of oceans in human cultural endeavors


What should an Ocean Literate Person Know?


Participants from the January 2002 Ocean Literacy workshop agreed that to be “ocean literate” pre-college graduates should:

·        Be aware of issues concerning the usage and sustainability of the oceans as a finite resource;

·        Be cognizant of both global and local environmental issues and the interconnectedness of all species;

·        Be knowledgeable of technological impacts on oceans.

·        Be able to diagram ocean problems, policies, and issues.

·        Be aware of the importance that oceans serve in our daily lives.      

·        Be knowledgeable of the enormity and complexity of oceans.