Elementary resources: Physical science

Young students gather excitedly around a chemistry experiment.

Students of a NOAA Planet Stewards Educator participating in a hands-on activity to understand the impacts of ocean acidification. In this experiment, dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) is added to water with soap. When the dry ice touches the soapy water, it quickly undergoes sublimation, or turns from a solid to a gas without first becoming water. The carbon dioxide gas is captured in soap bubbles, seen in this picture. (Image credit: D.J. Cast)

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You can find more elementary lessons, activities, units, and much more in our Sea to Sky database. You can bookmark this link, which will take you directly to the Sea to Sky database with elementary ages, physical science, and lessons, activities, and units pre-selected. You can further refine by subject, topic, or other filters as needed.

Ducks in the flow offsite link

3rd - 5th grade • Teacher guide • Links to standards
Students use scientific inquiry and data gathering skills to learn about force, motion, and ocean currents using the true story of toys that fell off a ship during a storm and drifted to various places.

Exploring changes in ocean chemistry offsite link

4th - 5th grade • Uses data • Links to standards
Students test different water samples, analyze their results, and share their ideas about how to improve the experimental design.

Marine osteoporosis offsite link

3rd - 8th grade • Teacher guide • Links to standards
Students will explore and test how ocean acidification affects different organisms, including humans. Students investigate causes of increased ocean acidity and discuss ways to minimize the impact.

Sanctuaries themed elementary collections

K - 6th grade
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuary System, the best of the best educational materials for an elementary school audience have been compiled in collaboration with the National Park Trust. Discover Spectacular with these education and outreach digital materials focused on 10 exciting topics: climate change, ocean acidification, marine debris, kelp forest ecosystems, coral reef ecosystems, sea turtles, sharks, whales and ocean noise, seabirds, and shipwrecks.

Sanctuary splash: Acoustics of cetaceans offsite link

4th - 6th grade • Teacher guide • Links to standards
Students will listen to whale vocalizations and participate in simulations of sound perception and efficiency of sound transfer through matter. Students will also gain a basic understanding of how sounds are measured and recorded when studied in a marine environment, and how various cetacean species communicate and are identified by the vocalizations they make.