Golden Gate Sense of Place

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Through videos, activities, and discussion, students will explore where the land meets the sea in the Marin Headlands, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. NatureBridge educators will lead students on a virtual walk along the beach to gain a sense of familiarity and connection with the place. Students will then get to dive into the ocean, observing and learning about the importance of plankton and how it brings life to our world. Students will then take their knowledge of small things having a big impact and explore how they are connected to the ocean. 


Two educators lead each 40 to 60 minute session as presenter and host using a video conference platform such as Zoom. Attending teachers participate as chaperones who observe and assist students as needed. Interactive technology tools may include Prezi, Jamboards, Google Slides, breakout sessions, and participant polls. NatureBridge educators will provide teachers with information to share with students who are unable to attend.

Session 1: Exploration and Connect 40-60 minute live session

Students will develop a better connection with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, themselves, and each other. Students will explore some of the geography and human history of the park. Through video observations, a scavenger hunt, and questioning, they will explore the Marin Headlands and Rodeo Beach. Students will also start to see how they are connected to the ocean.

Session 2: Plankton Lab: Small Change, Big Impact 40-60 minute live session

Utilizing our plankton lab, students will see how these small plants and animals are the building blocks to life. Students will see how scientists gather plankton from the ocean, and make observations on these small, but mighty beings under a microscope. Students will explore the interdependence of living things and the food web within this ocean ecosystem.

Session 3: Plankton, People, and Problem-Solving 40-60 minute live session

Not only are we dependent on the ocean, but ocean life is dependent on us. Students will explore the interconnections between human activity and ocean life, and come up with ideas to solve problems facing our seas. Utilizing collaboration, experimentation, and activities, students will see how they can have a positive impact on the deep blue.


Students will be able to:

  • Describe abiotic, biotic, and cultural factors of a beach ecosystem.
  • Make connections between how different parts of an ecosystem interact with one another.
  • Give examples of interdependence within a food web.
  • Give examples of how people depend on plankton to survive.
  • Describe human-caused problems within the ocean impacting plankton.
  • Come up with solutions to help reduce human impact on the ocean.

NGSS Standards

MS-LS2-3: Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations 

MS-ESS-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment

Materials Needed

Access to a computer, tablet or other online learning compatible device. Pen/pencil/writing utensil and paper.

Adult Expectations

At least one teacher will be present throughout each live online session. Other adults may attend by invitation from the teacher or group coordinator. All attending adults must complete NatureBridge’s Participant Registration Form in advance of the session. 

It is the responsibility of attending adults to support student learning and safety during large group instruction and small breakout sessions by following the expectations listed below. 

  • Support students in staying on task. 
  • Address discipline concerns, while allowing students to be engaged and answer questions on their own. 
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and model inclusive behavior.
  • Communicate with the group’s NatureBridge educator about the educational plan and offer constructive feedback when appropriate.

Schedule this Program

We successfully piloted our first season of Distance Learning programs this fall and will resume programming in February 2021. If you would like more information about a Distance Learning program for your class, please fill out the form below and our outreach team will be in touch with you in January to discuss your interest in more detail. 

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