Welcome to the
Marine Protected Area Exploration!
During this virtual and in person marine science education program, middle school and high school students take part in ecological monitoring in the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area, helping us understand how the underwater ecosystem there is changing!
The MPA Science Cruise originally launched in 2012 as a partnership between Crystal Cove Conservancy, Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Landing Sportfishing, marine researchers, local teachers, and students to monitor the Crystal Cove SMCA and see how it is changing over time. Since then, student-analyzed data has become an integral part of our monitoring efforts every year.
The educational curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for middle and high school. During the program’s ten sessions, students work in research teams to learn more about California’s Marine Protected Area system, design a collaborative model, help record and analyze data for several monitoring projects, and then use science communication skills to share their findings with different audiences.
Please visit our field trip page for information on booking an in-person trip.
The virtual version of the MPA Exploration program was made possible through a 2020 grant from the Ocean Protection Council and Coastal Quest’s MPA Outreach & Education Small Grants program. Coastal Quest administers the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Outreach and Education Small Grants Program. This competitive grant program, funded by the Ocean Protection Council and private donors, provides support to organizations serving many priority communities to increase MPA stewardship, engagement, compliance, and leadership. For more information on Coastal Quest and the MPA Small Grants Program, visit their website (www.coastal-quest.org).or check out this grant announcement!
How to Join
The virtual version of the MPA Exploration program is free for everyone! You will find the lesson guides, slideshows, virtual explorations, and other supporting material all linked below.
We’d love to know who is using our curriculum! If you are a teacher or homeschool educator and plan to use the virtual version of the MPA Exploration program during the 2023-2024 school year, please complete this survey and let us know.
If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact Erick Valdez, Education Coordinator, by emailing email@example.com.
If you would like to participate in this program in person, you can find more information about field trips here.
Teacher Professional Development
We highly recommend that all teachers, educators, and parents who will be facilitating the Marine Science Exploration attend an online professional development session. This training gives an overview of the program, an introduction to the different lessons, and walks you through general teaching logistics.
2023-2024 Training Dates:
In-person workshops (recommended for teachers participating in field trips):
- October 28, 2023 9am-2pm – MPA Science Exploration In-person Training with boat component
- January 20, 2024 9am-2pm – MPA Science Exploration In-person Training with boat component
- November 14, 2023 4:00 – 5:30pm – MPA Science Exploration Virtual training
- December 7, 2023 4:00 – 5:30pm – MPA Science Exploration Virtual training
- February 12, 2024 4-5:30pm – MPA Science Exploration Virtual training
MPA Exploration Curriculum
Teacher & Educator Resources
- Teacher Guide (PDF)
- Student Pre-Program Assessment
- Student Post-Program Assessment
- Student Field Notebook template
Session 1: Welcome to the Crystal Cove SMCA!
- Session 1 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 1 Slideshow
- Exploring the Crystal Cove SMCA Thinglink
- Session 1 Field Notebook template
Session 2: Asking Questions About MPAs
Session 3: Building a Model
- Session 3 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 3 Slideshow
- Session 3 Field Notebook template
- Session 3 Model Template
Session 4: Diving Deeper (optional)
Session 5: Preparing to Collect Data
- Session 5 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 5 Slideshow
- Session 5 Field Notebook Template
- Monitoring Project Voicethreads and Guides:
- Fish Monitoring Project
- Plankton Monitoring Project
- Water Quality Monitoring Project:
Session 6: Collecting Data
- Session 6 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 6 Slideshow
- Session 6 Field Notebook Template
- Virtual field expedition to the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area
- Recording Data:
Session 7: Analyzing Data
- Session 7 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 7 Slideshow
- Session 7 Field Notebook Template
- Graphing Data Instructions
- Research Team Recommendation Template
- Share your Recommendation with Crystal Cove Conservancy!
Session 8: Constructing a Message (optional)
- Session 8 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 8 Slideshow
- Session 8 Field Notebook Template
- MPA Social Media Project Rubric
Session 9: Finalizing Your Plan (optional)
- Session 9 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 9 Slideshow
- Session 9 Field Notebook Template
- Pitch Packet Template
- Social Media Platform Voicethread
- Social Media Metrics Voicethread
Session 10: Executing Your Plan (optional)
- Session 10 Lesson Guide (PDF)
- Session 10 Slideshow
- Session 10 Field Notebook Template
- MPA Social Media Project Rubric
- MPA Social Media Stock Content Gallery
- Share Your Final Project with Crystal Cove Conservancy!
Have any other questions? Please contact Erick Valdez by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!