Marine Mammals: A Life Aquatic

From furry sea otters and sleek sea lions, to energetic dolphins and massive baleen whales, marine mammals spark the imagination of all. Discover the journey these once terrestrial animals undertook to return to the sea and the hurdles they had to overcome to thrive in such a unique and different environment.

Appropriate grade range: 6-12

Learning Goals

  • Identify groups of marine mammals based on physical characteristics.
  • Review the evolution of marine mammals from terrestrial to aquatic species.
  • Recognize and compare the physiological and morphological challenges brought on by life in the ocean.
  • Summarize how marine mammals compensate for the challenges imposed by an existence in the ocean.
  • Compare the historical relationship between marine mammals and humans to today’s education and conservation efforts.


  1. Marine Mammal Species
  2. Evolution of Marine Mammals
  3. Diving Physiology
  4. Osmoregulation
  5. Thermoregulation
  6. Sensory Systems
  7. From the Brink

Course Components

  • Online Assessment
  • Student Guide
  • Narrated Video
  • Interactives
  • Objectives for each Chapter
  • Certificate of Completion

Alignment to NGSS