Teaching Resources

As part of the SciREN workshop, I’ve developed a couple lesson plans for use in high school classrooms (or possibly advanced 8th grade classes) that use data from projects I’ve been involved with to teach students about reproductive strategies, habitat importance, and interactions with humans in the marine environment.  Also, there are sharks involved.

If you’re looking to fit this lesson into an existing curriculum, it was developed with North Carolina Essential Standards and Next Generation Science Standards in mind.  The standards covered are listed in the lesson plan documents.

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly (my contact info is on the lesson plan documents) with any questions.  I am also more than willing to provide in-class assistance.  If you’ve used either of these lesson plans, definitely let me know how well they worked and any suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Sharks on the Move

In this lesson, students will learn about reproductive strategies used by marine animals, how they affect survival to adulthood, the importance of nursery habitat, and human impacts on juvenile survival.  Students will also be given a basic primer on fisheries management and how it can be possible to both allow fishing to occur and protect vulnerable species.  Using the example of sandbar sharks off of Cape Hatteras, students will develop a mock fishery management plan that should keep local fisheries open and avoid bycatch of protected species.

Everything you need for this lesson plan is available here:

Sharks on the Move Lesson Plan (.pdf file) – Lesson plan overview for teachers.

Sharks on the Move Powerpoint (.pptx file) – Powerpoint presentation containing background information for the lesson, includes notes on further information and discussion questions (the teacher can see these by running the presentation in Presenter mode).

Sharks on the Move Powerpoint (.pdf file) – If you’d prefer, a PDF version of the Powerpoint presentation for printing and handing out.

Sharks on the Move Student Info (.pdf file) – Information packet for students, including basic info on North Carolina fisheries, sandbar shark biology, and maps showing where tagged sandbar sharks have been detected each month.

Sharks in the Sound

Now updated with data from the summer 2015 field season!

Also available on the SciREN Portal.

Organisms use a combination of environmental preferences (abiotic factors) and species interactions (biotic factors) to choose habitat. This lesson plan will use shark presence within Back Sound, North Carolina as a charismatic example of the factors influencing habitat choice, and allow students to manipulate a data set to learn how to interpret and draw conclusions from raw data. The lesson will consist of a short lecture outlining how abiotic and biotic factors can structure a local community of coastal sharks and provide students with a data set and short instruction on basic statistical methods in Microsoft Excel. Students will calculate mean environmental factors for each shark species with measures of uncertainty, and use those results to interpret where the sharks would settle into a North Carolina nursery habitat.

Sharks in the Sound Lesson Plan (.pdf file) – Lesson plan overview for teachers.

Sharks in the Sound Powerpoint (.pptx file) – Powerpoint presentation including background on both the general concepts (habitat choice, resource partitioning) and the shark survey, and instructions for calculating basic statistics in Microsoft Excel.  Includes notes that can be seen by the teacher in Presenter mode.

Sharks in the Sound data (.xlsx file) – Excel file containing raw data from the ECU inshore shark survey for students to analyze.





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  2. Chris · February 4, 2014


    This is incredible! I graduated from ECU this year and and beginning my first year teaching Biology and Earth and Environmental at a nearby High School. Land based shark fishing is my hobby and passion. I participate in tagging sharks for the NOAA Apex Predator Program and would love to talk with you about some of your research. Please contact me at [email protected]. Thanks!

  3. tobi sonaike · February 4, 2014

    hello my name is tobi I live In new jersey. I go down to stone harbor and catch baby sandbar sharks and dogfish all the time I am interested in tagging them this summer. I am in highschool and ever since I saw the ocean I fell in love with it and sharks. I am an avid fisherman and hope to become a marine biologist. I love your website and I would love to do some research with dogfish. I would like to get in contact with you soon.
    Thank you.

  4. Pingback: Sharks at SciREN 2016 | Ya Like Dags?