Underwater scene

Marine Science

by carolinastaff

Marine science is one of the most popular science electives in high school and college. Its interdisciplinary structure requires students to integrate biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics, making it a perfect addition to any science course sequence. This guide breaks down the important information students need to know, provides links to products and free digital resources, and includes suggestions for hands-on labs that reinforce student learning. We have gathered a variety of products and resources to better help you teach this concept. They include:

The major areas covered in this topic:


Oceans cover about 70% of the earth’s surface, drive weather, and provide food for multitudes of organisms. Investigating the physical and chemical properties of water is foundational for understanding our oceans and the interactions between the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

Materials needed to conduct oceanography  experiments
251401 Modeling the Hydrosphere Kit

Students discover the basic principles of the hydrosphere. By generating a working model, they investigate the ocean currents and determine what creates and influences both surface and subsurface currents. They then expand their investigation to craft a working water cycle and experiment with how different environmental conditions may affect their model. 

Beginning–Easy to perform; requires little or no prior knowledge.

Materials needed to perform this activity
331134 Coevolution of Earth’s Systems Kit

Collect evidence on how feedback between the biosphere and other earth systems causes a continuous co-evolution of earth’s surface in your classroom. In this series of 5 investigations, students construct an explanation describing why banded iron formations developed. They digitally investigate precipitation reactions, use a hands-on investigation to understand the conditions necessary for rusting, collect data to determine how aquatic photosynthetic organisms impact dissolved oxygen concentrations, digitally investigate saturated solutions, and analyze patterns in the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere over time.

Beginning–Easy to perform; requires little or no prior knowledge.

Students discover the effects of plant respiration on the pH of aquatic environments.
181069 Ocean Acidification

Students investigate ocean acidification with 4 different activities. They discover the effects of atmospheric gases and plant respiration on the pH of aquatic environments in 2 separate activities. They also explore the effects of acidic conditions on marine animals, and then examine the impact of temperature on carbon dioxide solubility.

Beginning–Easy to perform; requires little or no prior knowledge.

GEO606 Ocean Trash Can Kit
GEO602 Ocean Science Kit
Materials needed to perform this activity
GEO600 Amazing Waves Kit

Marine Organisms

The oceans house a vast variety of organisms, from phytoplankton and zooplankton to sharks and whales. Observing some of these organisms in a class aquarium can spur student interest and provide a wealth of experiment data. The sets shown below can get you started.

Marine Aquarium Kit
162755 Marine Aquarium Kit with Invertebrate and Fish Sets
Live rock and anemone
162908 Living Rock Community Set
Tropical Fish
162646 Marine Fish Set
Sea snail
162600 Marine Invertebrate Set
sea cucumber
162605 Living Reef Set
Marine Aquarium with Animals
162725 Marine Aquarium Kit with Animals

Marine Dissection Specimens

A complete series of marine dissections provides a study in structure and function and taxonomy. Students can begin dissections with marine invertebrates and proceed to bony and cartilaginous fish.

Sea star dissection kit
221440M Starfish Dissection BioKit® with Dissection Mats

Starfish Dissection BioKit® with Dissection Mats introduces students to the anatomy of an echinoderm. The Carolina® BioKit® is a single-concept classroom unit that gives students a hands-on approach to biology. Each kit contains materials for at least 30 students plus teacher’s manual with reproducible student guide and labeled diagrams, information regarding the specimen’s anatomy and physiology, standards met by the dissection, glossary, and resource list or digital resources to reinforce the activity.

Beginning–Easy to perform; requires little or no prior knowledge.

9 specimens representing 3 major fish groups: the jawless fish, cartilaginous fish, and bony fish.
226555 Preserved Mixed Fish Set

Contains 9 specimens representing 3 major fish groups: the jawless fish, cartilaginous fish, and bony fish. Students study the external and internal anatomy of specimens from each of the 3 major fish groups to gain a better understanding of fish taxonomy. Students compare and contrast unique internal characteristics and anatomical structures such as skeletal composition, scales, and fins, as well as respiratory and feeding structures.

Intermediate–Easy to perform; requires some background knowledge.

Materials needed to perform a shark
221448M Shark Dissection BioKit® with Dissection Mats

Students working in pairs study the external anatomy of the dogfish shark, a cartilaginous fish, and explore its internal organs and organ systems through guided dissection. 

Intermediate–Easy to perform; requires some background knowledge.

reserved large, thick-shelled marine clam.
224864 Formalin Quahog
Mat detailing how to dissect a squid
229955 Carolina® Squid Dissection Mat
5 echinoderm specimens
226000 Echinoderm Collection

Models and Manipulatives

8 specimens professionally embedded in clear acrylic
POM1017 Marine Animal Kingdom Set
3999491 Aquatic Bundle
Bony Fish model
564758 Altay Fish Dissection Model

Other Marine Science Products

We offer a number of products that will help facilitate your marine science lessons.

399260 VR Dogfish Dissection
GEO8472 Density Flow Model Junior
671442 Instant Ocean Sea Salt

Additional Marine Science Support

We have free resources to help you teach this concept, including:

  • Free Activities and Resources
  • Helpful Buying Guides

Free 3-D/NGSS Activities for Marine Science

 Carolina Essentials™ are free, hands-on, NGSS-based activities. These activities are designed to make implementing 3-D learning easy. Students make sense of phenomena while learning concepts essential for understanding ecosystem processes. You can browse all of these Carolina Essentials or try one of these:

Additional Marine Science Resources

Use these free resources to supplement your instruction about marine science.

Marine Science Skill Videos

Looking for videos to enhance your marine science instruction? Try one of these.

Buying Guides

Choosing the appropriate equipment for your labs can be a challenging task. Our buying guides are designed to make your decisions easy. Review Carolina recommended microscopes or this handy guide.

For More Guidance

These are our top picks. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, we’ll be happy to help you find the right activities and kits to simplify your planning and implementation. If you have questions, please contact us at product@carolina.com.

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