Marine Biology -Nature Study with Links

Marine Biology Plans and Nature Study


Oceans, Ocean Life, Tide Pools, and Aquariums = Great Marine Biology Unit Study

Looking for some help in starting a study of marine biology with your children? Wanting to learn more about tide pools? Looking for help with lesson plans? Not sure what to do or where to get started?

I’m going to pull together the resources and materials that I found planning our study of marine biology. My boys used these ideas in high school but much of the information is absolutely appropriate for younger students. I invite you to read more about how families can learn about marine life together.

With a little effort, you can make a study of marine biology a fun and exciting family activity.

My boys have had an interest in the ocean since they were very little. Not only were they curious about the typical things like sharks and dolphins, but they also wanted to know more about the things that are often hidden from sight deep under the ocean’s surface. As a homeschooling family, we were able to create opportunities to follow their interests, to feed the curiosity that they had about ocean life. In high school, we made a more formal study of marine biology. All of their previous experiences with ocean creatures in real life were connected together as we worked through this curriculum. They had memories of so many of the topics from personal and up close observations. There could have been no better way to learn these things. I am a huge fan of interest driven learning for life.

Marine Biology – General Plan

Our family used a textbook as the spine for our marine biology study. In addition, we used some more specific resources that fit the learning styles of our children including a scientific coloring book, field guides, and an additional activity book.

The books and resources we used are listed below. Please note these are Amazon affiliate links to products I have used, owned, and loved.

Apologia Marine Biology

We used Exploring Creation with Marine Biology as our basic textbook this year with our high school age boys. This text is a perfect fit for our family and we enjoyed the topics, the information, and the sequence of learning. Each week we learned something new and interesting that we could draw from on our field trips.

Note: If your children are younger, you could use Apologia’s Exploring Creation: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.

Marine Biology coloring book

As a supplement we used the Marine Biology Coloring Book for our notebooks. I have one visual spatial learner who learned so much from using this coloring book. It’s so much more than just a coloring book and has high school level information that supplements the text above. I highly recommend using it alongside any marine biology text you choose.

Marine Biology coloring book page

Tide pooling is a great family activity and can be incorporated into field trips and vacations!

Tidepool images from Southern Oregon

With a little preparation, exploring tide pools can be a great hook for additional study. Once we observed something in its natural setting, our boys were eager to identify it and learn more.

Listed below are some of our many family tide pooling adventures.

Low Tide Oregon Coast – Our Tide Pool Experiences and Images

We had a week with lots of opportunity for tide pooling. Here are some of the creatures and plants we observed.

Oregon Coast Tide Pools – Extra Low Tide

We were able to explore the Oregon coast tide pools again this summer. New creatures were found!

Snail Study at the Oregon Coast

We had a terrific time during the negative tide looking at snails and more!

Cabrillo National Monument

Our day visiting the tide pools in Southern California.

Southern Oregon Beaches

Lots of ideas for beachcombing and nature journaling in this blog entry. In addition you may wish to start a seashell collection.


Additional Marine Biology Resources

I kept these resources on our nature shelf during our study of marine biology. They were used often as we created nature journal pages after our beach and tide pool experiences.

Golden Guide Seashore Life

Golden Guide Seashore Life

Seaside Naturalist

 Seashore Northern and Central California

Seashore – Northern and Central California

 101 Questions about the Seashore

101 Questions About the Seashore


Aquariums We Visited

We visited this museum just a few weeks ago and it was fantastic! The aquarium displays are gorgeous…a mixture of art and natural beauty. I printed out the field trip packet and we all completed the pages as we visited the aquarium.

This is the premier aquarium on the California coast. We love the setting and the layout of this aquarium. The “backstage” programs are well worth the effort of planning ahead.


I love when we can combine our personal interests into our homeschooling plans. Our family thoroughly enjoyed our year focusing on marine biology because we made it fit our learning styles. It gave us a legitimate excuse to take trips to the ocean, combining school subjects and pleasure. Sometimes it felt like we were having too much fun to call it “school” but that is the freedom that homeschooling gives us.

Take advantage of the opportunity, especially in high school, to feed your child’s passions. We never regretted our decision to include a formal study of marine biology into our sons’ teen years.

You never know where your study will take you!

Then we introduced the boys to snorkeling while on a trip to Hawaii. This added a new dimension to their personal experience with fish of the coral reef. It was exciting for them to swim with the fishes!

Read about it here: Hawaiian Fish in My Nature Journal.

If you have any resources you have used in your study of marine biology, feel free to leave me a comment sharing the titles or ideas.

You may be interested in clicking over to my page that I have created on my Harmony Fine Arts blog that lists all of our high school plans and resources, both by grade and topic.

Homeschool Plans


In addition, you can use the Outdoor Hour Challenges that may apply to your marine biology study.

Sand and Soil Nature Study

Salt Nature Study

Plus Archived Newsletters (All members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have access to the archived newsletters.)

June 2012 – Ocean Beach Newsletter



  1. TheHenNest says:

    Hi There, Thank you so much for this collection of links and books for a Marine Biology unit. I have a question for you, did you all do the Apologia Biology course prior to this one? My daughter has completed Apologia Physical Science and would like to do Marine Biology next year, however we have never done a formal Biology program. We have done a lot of biology through unit studies though. Thanks for the advice!

Add Your Comment