Lesson Plans by STEAM Subject

We are thrilled to present you with Sea Turtle-based lesson plans and activities for teaching STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Use these in conjunction with the Sea Turtle WebLessons or as part of your own curriculum.

As you test these lessons in your classroom, we would love to hear from you so we can improve our work. Please send us feedback using the mail icon on the left of this page. Thank you.
Click here for a list of lessons sorted by Turtle Topic

Many of our lessons include videos from behind the scenes at the Aquarium. You can find all of our videos in one place by visiting our YouTube page.

SCIENCE

Vocabulary List (Grades K-6)

A comprehensive list of vocabulary for studying sea turtles.
Click here for the list as an editable document

KWLHQ (Grades K-5)

Teach your students to use a KWLHQ sheet to keep track of what they already Know, what they Want to know, what they Learned, How they learned it (did they use books, the internet, etc), and what Questions they still have. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Reptile Requirements (Grade 4)

Learn about the physical and behavioral adaptations that North Carolina reptile species possess.

Sea Turtles are Reptiles (Grades K-5)

Learn about the reptilian characteristics of sea turtles by creating a sea turtle, highlighting the characteristics of reptiles, such as a backbone and lungs.

Draw a Turtle (Grades K-5)

Learn about the characteristics all turtles share and the special characteristics that make each type of turtle well adapted to its habitat.
Resources: Green Sea Turtle Picture; Loggerhead Sea Turtle Picture; Land Turtle Picture (box turtle); Aquatic Turtle Picture (terrapin)

Big Book of Turtles (Grades K-5)

Learn turtle species by each researching a different species and writing a research paper and an encyclopedia page. By the end of this lesson the class will have created a turtle encyclopedia. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Promises (Grades K-4)

Brainstorm ways to help sea turtles and write promises on the shells of paper turtle hatchlings, which are then put in a paper nest.

You Make the Crawl (Grades K-2, 4)

Learn about the tracks sea turtle mothers leave on the beach by making models of these tracks in sand or clay.
Click here for the datasheet as an editable file.

Egg Laying (Grades 4-5)

Use operations, logic, and algebraic thinking to calculate the time sea turtles spend nesting and how many eggs they lay. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Observation and Relocation (Grades K-5)

Learn why scientists might need to move a sea turtle nest and how they do it without damaging the eggs. Students will simulate this procedure using “eggs” in “sand”. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Protection (Grades 2-5)

Learn how scientists protect sea turtle nests by brainstorming and discussing the threats to nests and then building devices (covers and signs) to protect the nests.

Boys and Girls (Grades 2-5)

Learn how gender in sea turtles is determined by the temperature of the eggs by designing an experiment to test the temperature of different colored sand. Graph those temperatures and calculate how many male and female sea turtles would hatch in those temperatures.
Designing an Experiment PDF.
Designing an Experiment editable file.

Preparing to Hatch (Grades 2-5)

Design methods to protect sea turtle hatchlings and help them reach the ocean, using the “Ask-Imagine-Plan-Create-Improve” design process.
Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Timeline (Grade 2)

Learn about sea turtle life cycles by labeling pictures of the different stages and putting them in order on a circle, to illustrate the cyclical nature of life. Compare the life cycle of a human to that of a sea turtle.

Sea Turtle Food Web (Grades 1-5)

Learn about sea turtle food chains by building a sea turtle and then placing it in a food chain with phytoplankton, zooplankton, small fish and jellyfish.

Sea Turtle Stomach Dissection (Grades 1-5)

Learn about sea turtle eating habits by investigating the contents of a “sea turtle stomach”. Students will discuss items sea turtles eat that are good for them and items that are bad for them (such as plastic), and how we can prevent sea turtles from having access to trash items.

Are You My Mother? (Grades 2-5)

Learn how researchers determine who laid a nest by practicing DNA fingerprinting using actual sea turtle mother and nest DNA fingerprints. Students then graph the data from actual nests found on beaches in the tri-state area (NC, SC, GA). Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

On the Sargasso Sea (Grades K-5)

Learn about sea turtle camouflage by each coloring a sea turtle and matching sargassum. Students will then mix up the class’ turtles and help each turtle find the sargassum in which it can hide.

Build Your Own Hatchling (Grades K-5)

Learn about feeding sea turtle hatchlings using a hatchling you build out of rocks and paint. Then weigh and measure your hatchling and calculate the amount of food it needs to grow, based on a chart.
Click here for the data sheets and shell patterns as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Genetics (Grades 3-5)

Learn about albinism in sea turtles and other reptiles. Use Punnett squares to lay out the genetics of albinism (a recessive trait) and determine how often albinism should occur among the offspring of non-albino parents with recessive albinism genes.
Click here for pictures of an albino alligator, an albino alligator’s eye, an albino snapping turtle, another albino snapping turtle, a leucistic alligator, a leucistic alligator’s eye, a leucistic sea turtle, an amellanistic turtle, and an amellanistic turtle’s eye.

Shelldon's Kitchen (Grades 1-4)

Use the Ask‐Imagine-Plan‐Create‐Improve procedure to design, and build if desired, a method to separate a sea turtle (Shelldon) from the other animals in his large enclosure to ensure he can eat all his food without having to compete with the other animals.

Womble's Tale (Grades K-5)

Read the story of a sea turtle who was brought to the aquarium sick because he had ingested a balloon. You will discuss why sea turtles eat trash and how we can prevent other sea turtles from being injured in this way. Click here to access Womble’s Tale.

Sargasso Sailing (Grades 1-5)

Learn about the Sargasso Sea-part of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre, which is home to juvenile loggerhead sea turtles. Use detective skills to search through samples from the Atlantic Ocean and find what else is collected in gyres.

TECHNOLOGY/ENGINEERING

Reptile Requirements (Grade 4)

Learn about the physical and behavioral adaptations that North Carolina reptile species possess.

Big Book of Turtles (Grades K-5)

Learn turtle species by each researching a different species and writing a research paper and an encyclopedia page. By the end of this lesson the class will have created a turtle encyclopedia. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Nest Observation and Relocation (Grades K-5)

Learn why scientists might need to move a sea turtle nest and how they do it without damaging the eggs. Students will simulate this procedure using “eggs” in “sand”. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Protection (Grades 2-5)

Learn how scientists protect sea turtle nests by brainstorming and discussing the threats to nests and then building devices (covers and signs) to protect the nests.

Preparing to Hatch (Grades 2-5)

Design methods to protect sea turtle hatchlings and help them reach the ocean, using the “Ask-Imagine-Plan-Create-Improve” design process.
Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Are You My Mother? (Grades 2-5)

Learn how researchers determine who laid a nest by practicing DNA fingerprinting using actual sea turtle mother and nest DNA fingerprints. Students then graph the data from actual nests found on beaches in the tri-state area (NC, SC, GA). Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Hatchling to Yearling (Grades 2-5)

Learn about sea turtle growth by following the growth of the Loggerhead sea turtle ambassadors at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Shelldon's Kitchen (Grades 1-4)

Use the Ask‐Imagine-Plan‐Create‐Improve procedure to design, and build if desired, a method to separate a sea turtle (Shelldon) from the other animals in his large enclosure to ensure he can eat all his food without having to compete with the other animals.

Sargasso Sailing (Grades 1-5)

Learn about the Sargasso Sea-part of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre, which is home to juvenile loggerhead sea turtles. Use detective skills to search through samples from the Atlantic Ocean and find what else is collected in gyres.

ART

Sea Turtles are Reptiles (Grades K-5)

Learn about the reptilian characteristics of sea turtles by creating a sea turtle, highlighting the characteristics of reptiles, such as a backbone and lungs.

Draw a Turtle (Grades K-5)

Learn about the characteristics all turtles share and the special characteristics that make each type of turtle well adapted to its habitat.
Resources: Green Sea Turtle Picture; Loggerhead Sea Turtle Picture; Land Turtle Picture (box turtle); Aquatic Turtle Picture (terrapin)

Sea Turtle Promises (Grades K-4)

Brainstorm ways to help sea turtles and write promises on the shells of paper turtle hatchlings, which are then put in a paper nest.

Big Book of Turtles (Grades K-5)

Learn turtle species by each researching a different species and writing a research paper and an encyclopedia page. By the end of this lesson the class will have created a turtle encyclopedia. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

You Make the Crawl (Grades K-2, 4)

Learn about the tracks sea turtle mothers leave on the beach by making models of these tracks in sand or clay.
Click here for the datasheet as an editable file.

Nest Observation and Relocation (Grades K-5)

Learn why scientists might need to move a sea turtle nest and how they do it without damaging the eggs. Students will simulate this procedure using “eggs” in “sand”. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Protection (Grades 2-5)

Learn how scientists protect sea turtle nests by brainstorming and discussing the threats to nests and then building devices (covers and signs) to protect the nests.

Hatching Turtles (Grades 3-5)

Learn about sea turtle life cycles and the threats turtles face from predators and hazards through an active game simulating the sea turtle’s life. Write and illustrate a story about sea turtle hatchlings.
Turtle Hurdles Activity.

Sea Turtle Food Web (Grades 1-5)

Learn about sea turtle food chains by building a sea turtle and then placing it in a food chain with phytoplankton, zooplankton, small fish and jellyfish.

On the Sargasso Sea (Grades K-5)

Learn about sea turtle camouflage by each coloring a sea turtle and matching sargassum. Students will then mix up the class’ turtles and help each turtle find the sargassum in which it can hide.

Build Your Own Hatchling (Grades K-5)

Learn about feeding sea turtle hatchlings using a hatchling you build out of rocks and paint. Then weigh and measure your hatchling and calculate the amount of food it needs to grow, based on a chart.
Click here for the data sheets and shell patterns as an editable file.

Womble's Tale (Grades K-5)

Read the story of a sea turtle who was brought to the aquarium sick because he had ingested a balloon. You will discuss why sea turtles eat trash and how we can prevent other sea turtles from being injured in this way. Click here to access Womble’s Tale.

Trapped in a Sea Turtle Nest (Grades K-5)

Students will write a short story describing what would happen if they were trapped in a sea turtle nest. Then they will illustrate their story.

MATH

Egg Laying (Grades 4-5)

Use operations, logic and algebraic thinking to calculate the time sea turtles spend nesting and how many eggs they lay. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Observation and Relocation (Grades K-5)

Learn why scientists might need to move a sea turtle nest and how they do it without damaging the eggs. Students will simulate this procedure using “eggs” in “sand”. Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Preparing to Hatch (Grades 2-5)

Design methods to protect sea turtle hatchlings and help them reach the ocean, using the “Ask-Imagine-Plan-Create-Improve” design process.
Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Nest Excavation (Grades 5-6)

Use mathematical reasoning to learn about the fates of sea turtle eggs by calculating the fraction of eggs that successfully hatch and comparing that fraction to the fraction that do not hatch.
Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Timeline (Grade 2)

Learn about sea turtle life cycles by labeling pictures of the different stages and putting them in order on a circle, to illustrate the cyclical nature of life. Compare the life cycle of a human to that of a sea turtle.

Are You My Mother? (Grades 2-5)

Learn how researchers determine who laid a nest by practicing DNA fingerprinting using actual sea turtle mother and nest DNA fingerprints. Students then graph the data from actual nests found on beaches in the tri-state area (NC, SC, GA). Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Build Your Own Hatchling (Grades K-5)

Learn about feeding sea turtle hatchlings using a hatchling you build out of rocks and paint. Then weigh and measure your hatchling and calculate the amount of food it needs to grow, based on a chart.
Click here for the data sheets and shell patterns as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Genetics (Grades 3-5)

Learn about albinism in sea turtles and other reptiles. Use Punnett squares to lay out the genetics of albinism (a recessive trait) and determine how often albinism should occur among the offspring of non-albino parents with recessive albinism genes.
Click here for pictures of an albino alligator, an albino alligator’s eye, an albino snapping turtle, another albino snapping turtle, a leucistic alligator, a leucistic alligator’s eye, a leucistic sea turtle, an amellanistic turtle, and an amellanistic turtle’s eye.

Grow Baby Grow (Grades 2-5)

Learn about sea turtle growth by measuring pictures of hatchlings from the aquarium and graphing the change over time. Click here for the worksheet as a separate file.
Click here for pictures of hatchlings: ready for an exam, being measured, being measured again, swimming, in hand

Hatchling to Yearling (Grades 2-5)

Learn about sea turtle growth by following the growth of the Loggerhead sea turtle ambassadors at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Sea Turtle Fractions (Grades 3-5)

Review fractions using sea turtles and other ocean creatures. Fraction Identification Worksheet Fraction Comparison Worksheet Fraction Equivalent Worksheet

OTHER SUBJECTS

English/Language Arts

Book List (Grades K-6)

A list of books about sea turtles.

Big Book of Turtles (Grades K-5)

Learn turtle species by each researching a different species and writing a research paper and an encyclopedia page. By the end of this lesson the class will have created a turtle encyclopedia. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Hatching Turtles (Grades 3-5)

Learn about sea turtle life cycles and the threats turtles face from predators and hazards through an active game simulating the sea turtle’s life. Write and illustrate a story about sea turtle hatchlings.
Turtle Hurdles Activity.

Womble's Tale (Grades K-5)

Read the story of a sea turtle who was brought to the aquarium sick because he had ingested a balloon. You will discuss why sea turtles eat trash and how we can prevent other sea turtles from being injured in this way. Click here to access Womble’s Tale.

My Day as a Turtle Keeper (Grades 2-5)

Write a narrative describing how you would spend a day as a turtle keeper at the aquarium. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Let's Compare and Contrast (Grades 3-5)

Compare and contrast the geography, culture, and sea turtle conservation strategies of North Carolina and Belize. This lesson was developed as part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Educators of Excellence Institutes. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

Let's Build a Sandcastle (Grades 1-3)

Students will use temporal words to describe the process of building a sandcastle. They will explain why it is important to knock down their castle when they are finished building it.

Trapped in a Sea Turtle Nest (Grades K-5)

Students will write a short story describing what would happen if they were trapped in a sea turtle nest.

Social Studies

Nest Protection (Grades 2-5)

Learn how scientists protect sea turtle nests by brainstorming and discussing the threats to nests and then building devices (covers and signs) to protect the nests.

Preparing to Hatch (Grades 2-5)

Design methods to protect sea turtle hatchlings and help them reach the ocean, using the “Ask-Imagine-Plan-Create-Improve” design process.
Click here for the worksheet as an editable file.

Sea Turtle Stomach Dissection (Grades 1-5)

Learn about sea turtle eating habits by investigating the contents of a “sea turtle stomach”. Students will discuss items sea turtles eat that are good for them and items that are bad for them (such as plastic), and how we can prevent sea turtles from having access to trash items.

Womble's Tale (Grades K-5)

Read the story of a sea turtle who was brought to the aquarium sick because he had ingested a balloon. You will discuss why sea turtles eat trash and how we can prevent other sea turtles from being injured in this way. Click here to access Womble’s Tale.

Let's Compare and Contrast (Grades 3-5)

Compare and contrast the geography, culture, and sea turtle conservation strategies of North Carolina and Belize. This lesson was developed as part of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Educators of Excellence Institutes. Click here for the worksheets as an editable file.

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