Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents: Canada's First Marine Protected Area


This lesson was contributed by DFO and authored by Dianne Sanford - Thank you for sharing!

Lesson plans target grades 4 to 8, plus 11; in addition grades 9 and 10 are also a good fit. Through class discussions, research, and activities, students will learn about the ocean biome, hydrothermal vents, and more specifically about Canada’s Endeavour Hydrothermal vent site and it’s designation as a Marine Protected Area. Students will become acquainted with the Endeavour hydrothermal vents area, the thriving communities of species that exists there and the many adaptations they have, allowing them to exist in this extreme environment. With flexibility in mind, the three activities are sufficiently diverse, allowing teachers to chose which lessons to complete, or just use the background materials (and visuals!) as a springboard for a unit on extreme environments, plate tectonics, or marine protected areas.  

Marine Protected Areas and hydrothermal vents will be explored through three main activities listed below. Word Documents and PDFs are available for each lesson, along with supplementary materials. Please note: Word documents will download when clicked, while PDFs will open in a new window online. 

To begin, review the lesson outline and watch DFO's video of Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents.

Activity I– Becoming a Researcher introduces students to features of hydrothermal vents, terms and names, and the vent ecosystem. Students research and present within groups and then to whole class to introduce terminology and gain an understanding of Hydrothermal Vents and Marine Protected Areas. 

Activity II – Special Places is designed to encourage students to analyze what makes a place special to them.  Leading from this discussion, they will then look at the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vent ecosytem, and discuss the reasons why this area was chosen (is it unique, threatened, vulnerable to human activity?) for a Marine Protected Area.

Activity III – A Product of My Environment  (may be split into 2 lessons)  Beginning with an introduction to zones of the earth, then of the ocean, students are taken to the zone of the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents and explore the adaptations that the local residents have made to survive in this environment.  Using guided imagery, (visualization #1) the student’s imagination is challenged to create a creature that could survive well in the described fantasy habitat. The next step is a guided imagery of what the hydrothermal vents habitat would be like, (visualization #2) and the students are then challenged to create or describe a creature that would be well adapted to survive there.

 Additional links to Ocean Networks Canada's research at The Endeavour Hydrothermal Vent field has also been provided, including:

DFO Marine Protected Area Video:

Grade Level

  • Elementary
  • High School
  • Middle School


Author Name: 

Dianne Sanford

Updated Date

Oct 31, 2017 2:25pm PDT

Created Date

Nov 30, 2016 4:26pm PST