On Project weeks

If you look at the syllabus you will see that I have blocked out several weeks as project weeks. There are two single-week blocks each semester for small projects, and a final multi-week block for a larger project.

The point of these weeks is for you to have time and space to explore your own particular interests related to the material we have been covering. Ideally, you would want the projects to be related in some way to the material  previously covered (for example doing a survey of a fiddler crab population after studying arthropods). But that is of course not set in stone. For example, getting diving certification doesn’t neatly fit into any of the scheduled coursework, but it certainly is oceanography related and a very worthwhile project!

Students should decide upon and design their own projects. After all, the point is for you to be able to explore your own interests. But I know that this can be difficult sometimes, so I also don’t mind making a few suggestions for students to think about.

With this in mind, here are some examples of types of projects you may want to consider:

Behavior studies: choose and animal of interest, study and record its behaviors over a period of time (ex: daily movements, preening, hunting, courtship, or territorial behaviors, etc of various animals).

Population surveys: Study a population of a certain organism and record data such as population density, size, sex ratios, home range, etc. Alternatively, survey a community of organisms (a patch of seagrass, a coral head, a dock piling, a section of beach) and determine the species make-up and relationship amongst species.

Experiments: got an idea you want to test? Go for it! Does a certain smell attract sharks more readily than others? What about sounds? Which type of shells do hermit crabs prefer? Do shiny objects attract barracudas? Which is the fastest/strongest snail?The possibilities are endless!

Engineering: Can you design a way to generate electricity from the energy of the ocean? How about a build robotic fish feeder for your aquarium?

Collections: Everyone will be doing a shell collection, but you may also want to consider collecting, identifying, and preserving seaweeds, fish, or other organisms as a project.

Power point presentations/slide shows/research papers: You may want to choose any topic and study it in greater depth, creating a polished presentation of what you learned. For example: Find a way to take microphotos of plankton, identify them and make a slide show  or powerpoint with informational text.

Interviews: Choose someone knowledgeable about a subject of interest and interview them. Write up the interview or make a video. Ex: interview charter boat captains on fishing techniques, fishing regulations, or business practices. Interview a scientist on their work, etc.

Combination projects: Learn all about the various species of local shark, find and take pictures of them, dissect a shark, and make a collection of sharks teeth. Record it all in your notebook.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. But the idea  is to find a project which inspires/interests YOU! So it can be anything you want it to be!



  1. Wow, these ideas are all so great T, thanks for mapping this here 🙂 I can see so many possiblities here….wonderful!!

  2. Thought I’d share this site I found on ocean related science projects. By the way, my daughter (12th grade) and I are enjoying your lesson plans!

  3. Sorry, here’s the link:

  4. Hi Theresa,
    Since we are not planning on going to the beach any time soon, Kerry has decided to do an experiment on whales and their blubber. Sounds funny but we found an experiment we can do from home. So, we will be posting as we go.
    p.s. Looking forward to seeing all the great projects from the beach.

  5. Any ideas how to do a shell collection, I know we can gather and identify but what is a great way of displaying them and about how many will make a great collection- can anyone help?
    Thanks Mary

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