Resources & Lessons

Welcome to the Ocean Sense resource page!

Ocean exploration is made possible by a strong partnership between scientists and technology. Cabled observatories allow scientists to use and rely on instruments that connect them to the ocean on a continual basis, so they can collect data and make observations. Understanding how instruments work and how they collect data is key to building a functional observatory (and a strong partnership) so we’ve started this resource with information about the instruments you’ll find on the community observatories.

About the Instrument Overviews

These instrument overviews explore what each instrument is, how the instrument collects data, how the data might appear when affected by different variables, and why you might find this information important.  Further, the instrument overviews offer suggestions for explorations and inquiry using those instruments and their data. Each instrument overview is divided into different sections of relevant information, so they can be used as a reference as you explore the ocean in the classroom.

Activities & Lesson Plans

To further help you understand these instruments; each overview is complimented with an activity and lesson plan.  These activities explore how the instrument helps to addresses a variety of Grade 8–10 Science learning objectives using important concepts in oceanography.

Each lesson contains a balance of hands-on activities and data collected from Ocean Networks Canada’s underwater observatories and shore-based weather stations. Through a multifaceted, inquiry approach to learning, students explore each concept in rich detail.

Included with each lesson are extension questions and activities for different grade levels as well as suggestions for projects and a discussion of common misconceptions or difficult concept elements. Many lessons feature multimedia to be shared with the class—e.g., photos, diagrams, graphs, or video—to which links are provided to download this material in a variety of formats.

Using the Lessons

Select any lesson you’d like to begin. These lessons are designed to be used at your convenience over the course of a year as each lesson will give a different view and understanding of the seasonal ocean. In the fall, the meteorological station and water quality monitor help understand the biological need for a powerful and often turbulent sea. In the winter, students can monitor the Arctic Ocean as it begins to freeze, sealing the ocean off from the air. In the spring and summer, the fluorometer and oxygen profiler will give students insights as to why emerald swirls can be seen from space and why that’s so important, even for us.    

Get ready to explore, discover and develop your Ocean Sense!

Instrument Overviews Corresponding Lesson Plans
Ocean Observatories Observatories
Interpreting Data
Oxygen Sensor Hypoxia and the Oxygen Squeeze
Fluorometer Sensor Examining Marine Green Algal Cells
Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) Freshwater and Seawater Density
Camera I See What You Did There
Ice Profiler Sea Ice and Climate Change


For additional lesson plans and resource check out our Educator Resources page.