Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Learning Resources

Visit our new Virtual Learning pages! Fun videos, arts and crafts, lesson plans, and learn-at-home activities for a variety of topics. 
Whether you're visiting the Aquarium yourself, with your family or are organizing a class trip, here are some handy resources to help you before you arrive.
For individuals, families or groups:

For educators:
Discovery Lecture Series Teacher and Community Resources
Please check back for learning resources on upcoming lecture topics

Lecture topic: Climate Change and Weather
Warming oceans, melting ice, and rising seas, Dr. Ian Fenty, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Arctic climate as Documented by Algal Rocks, Dr. Branwen Williams, Claremont McKenna College
California Drought - Are We In or Out?, Dr. Bill Patzert, Climatologist, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder - Arctic Climate
Library Pathfinder - California Drought
Library Pathfinder - Climate Change
Lesson Plan - Who Pollutes
Reading Handout - Who Pollutes Story
Lesson Plan - Ocean Acidification Experiment
Worksheet - Ocean Acidification Experiment

Lecture topic: Marine Mammals
Beautiful Minds: Dolphins, Apes and the origins of Human Intelligence, Dr. Craig Stanford, USC
"That's Impossible!" Cetacean Heads are Vibroacoustic Antennas, Dr. Ted Cranford, San Diego State University
The amazing underwater world of blue and humpback whales: new tags provide insights into their lives and the threats they face, John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research
An urgent message from Mexico’s vaquita porpoise: protect me, protect life (yours included), Dr. Barbara Taylor, Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Teacher resources
Lesson Plan - How Do Whales Eat?
Activity - Whale Do it, Do its
Worksheet - Whale Coloring Sheet
Lesson Plan - Pinniped Races: A Lesson on Seals and Sea Lions
Reading Handout - All About Pinnipeds
Worksheet - Sea Lion Coloring Sheet
Worksheet - Sea Lion Skeleton Coloring Sheet
Library Pathfinder - Whale Heads
Library Pathfinder - Ape and Dolphin Brains
Library Pathfinder - Vaquita

Lecture topic: Sharks
Return of Big Predators to California Waters, Dr. Chris Lowe, CSU Long Beach

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder on Sharks
Lesson Plan - JAWnormous
Lesson Plan - Swimming with Blue Sharks Migration
Lesson Plan - Shark Bingo and other JAWsome Activities
Reading Handout - Blue Shark
Reading Handout - How Megalodon Worked
Worksheet - Megalodon - Biggest Shark to Roam the Seas
Worksheet - Megalodon Crossword Puzzle
Worksheet - Parts of a Shark
Parts of a Shark Answer Key
Worksheet - Shark Coloring Sheet
Worksheet - Shark Word Search
Worksheet - Track a Blue Shark Lesson Activity
Shark Graphic - Cut and Paste Words
Label the Leopard Shark

Lecture topic: Marine Fishes
Surf, Sand, and Silversides: Research and Outreach with California Grunion, Dr. Karen Martin, Pepperdine University
Ovaries, Testes, and Copulatory Structures – Oh My! The Importance of Understanding Reproduction of Fishes, Dr. Kristy L. Forsgren, California State University, Fullerton
The Return of the Kelp Forest King, Dr. Larry G. Allen, California State University, Northridge
Beyond Big Fish, Restoring the Southern California Rocky Reef Ecosystem, Dr. Dan Pondella, Occidental College and Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI)

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder - Fish Reproduction

Lecture topic: Marine Invertebrates
Parasites and food webs, Dr. Kevin Lafferty, US Geological Survey and UC Santa Barbara
Hugs and Drugs from Sea Slugs, Dr. Patrick J. Krug, California State University Los Angeles
If We Make Their Bed, They Will Lie In It: Restoration of Native Olympia Oysters in Southern California, Dr. Danielle Zacherl, California State University, Fullerton

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder - Nudibranchs
Library Pathfinder - Olympia Oysters
Library Pathfinder - Parasites and Food Webs

Lecture topic: Plankton and Deep Sea
Do Swimming Animals Mix the Ocean?, Dr. John O. Dabiri, Stanford
The Vast Frontier: Tales From the Darkside, Mike Schaadt, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Harmful Algal Blooms Along the California Coast, Dr. David Caron, USC
The Universe Below: Explorations of Life in the Deep Sea, Dr. Shana Goffredi, Occidental College

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder on Plankton and Algae HABs
Library Pathfinder - The Vast Frontier
Lesson Plan - Ocean Food Chain Game
Worksheet - Ocean Food Chain Game
Worksheet - Ocean Food Chain Answer Key
Lesson Plan - Crazy Currents
Worksheet - Oceanic Surface Currents Map
Worksheet - Pacific Ocean Surface Currents Map
Graphic - Ocean Surface Currents Map Answer Key
Graphic - Pacific Ocean Current Map Answer Key
Reading Handout - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Lesson Plan - Beware of HABs

Graphic Phytoplankton ID
Graphic Zooplankton ID
Lesson Plan - Diatom Art
Graphic Example of Diatom Art
Worksheet - Diatom Art Template
Worksheet - Phytoplankton Coloring Sheet
Lesson Plan - Mero Match-up
Worksheet - Meroplankton Match-up (for younger students)
Worksheet - Meroplankton Match-up Answer Key (for younger students)
Worksheet - Meroplankton Match-up (for older students)
Worksheet - Meroplankton Match-up Answer Key (for older students)

Lecture topic: Human Impacts and Aquaculture
There is a great future in plastics: So what’s the big (and little) deal?, Shelly Moore, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)
Teaming with Nature in Managing Urban Runoff: More Bang for the Buck!, Dr. John Dorsey, Loyola Marymount University
Advances in beach water quality monitoring, Dr. Stephen Weisberg, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
Sewers to Sanddabs: Profiling Orange County Sanitation District’s Ocean Monitoring Program, Dr. Jeff Armstrong, Environmental Supervisor, Orange County Sanitation District-Ocean Monitoring Program
Outlook on the Outer Continental Shelf for Offshore Energy, Dr. Ann Bull, Chief of Environmental Sciences Section Pacific Region, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
The Future of Food from the Sea, Dr. Steve Gaines, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UC Santa Barbara
Aquaculture - The Fight for our Local Seafood, Kelly Stromberg, Catalina Sea Ranch
"The Golden Shore - California's Love Affair with the Sea", David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier

Teacher resources
Library Pathfinder - Urban Runoff
Library Pathfinder - Marine Debris
Library Pathfinder - Aquaculture
Library Pathfinder - Sustainable Seafood
Lesson Plan - What Belongs on a Beach
Worksheet - What Belongs on a Beach
Worksheet - Mussel Coloring Sheet
Worksheet - Rock Scallop Coloring Sheet
Lesson Plan - An Albatross Mystery
Reading Handout - Ka-ena Point
Lesson Plan - All Tangled Up
Lesson Plan - Animal Tales
Reading Handout - Animal Tales
Lesson Plan - Natural or Man Made
Worksheet - What Belongs on a Beach

Lecture topic: Rocky Intertidal
Ecological Consequences of Thermal Stress on Wave-Swept Shores: Insights from a Model Ecosystem, Dr. Bengt J. Allen, California State University, Long Beach
Tides of change: Trends in Rocky Intertidal Communities, Dr. Richard F. Ambrose, UCLA

Teacher resources
Lesson Plan - Life on the Rocks
Lesson Plan - It takes all Kinds
Lesson Plan - Color in Science
Worksheet - Tidepool Animals
Worksheet - Octopus Coloring Sheet
Worksheet - Parts of an Octopus
Graphic - Parts of an Octopus Answer Key
Graphic - Invertebrate Cut Out Cards

Lecture topic: Salt Marshes and Wetlands
Designing solutions to restore wetlands in a time of change, Dr. Christine Whitcraft, California State University, Long Beach
Unearthing the Historical Wetlands of Southern California, Dr. Shawna Dark, CSU Northridge

Teacher resources
Lesson Plan - Globetrotters A Lesson on Bird Migration
Reading Handout - Globetrotters of the Bird World
Worksheet - Adaptations of Birds' Beaks
Worksheet Answers - Adaptations of Birds' Beaks
Worksheet - Parts of a Bird Skeleton
Worksheet Answers - Parts of a Bird Skeleton
Worksheet - Bird Skeleton Coloring Sheet
Graphic - Migration Game Cards
CMA Saltmarsh Poster
Wetland Website Resources
Library Pathfinder on Wetlands
Library Pathfinder on Restoring Wetlands

Our Educator Workshops are also an excellent resource to stay current on ocean science and issues facing our marine environment.

Wonder when the low tide is? Click here for a tide table for Cabrillo Beach.
Need links to other environmental organizations?