Project Based Learning & California Marine Protected Areas




Project Based-Learning (PBL Units) 


Project based learning provides students with authentic learning experiences that engage students in the learning process. As students work collaboratively to solve a real world problem, students work on critical success skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The projects included here ask students to create a public service announcement to help spread the word about how we, as a community, can help save the Marine Protected Areas located in the California State Parks. From protecting the kelp forests of Point Lobos State Marine Reserve to advocating for the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area, these projects provide opportunities for sustained inquiry, student choice, and allow for students to make their work public as they work in collaboration with a California State Parks Ranger. In addition, integral to a successful project, students are provided opportunities to reflect, receive feedback, and revise their work to make a public product that is worth sharing outside the classroom walls. These projects are designed for any teacher to be able to successfully manage a project based learning experience in their classroom. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced project based teacher, you will easily be able to integrate these projects into your classroom and hopefully inspire a new generation of students who advocate for our beautiful natural resources in the California State Parks.


CRYSTAL COVE UNIT -Saving the Intertidal Zone


 PYRAMID POINT UNIT - The Story of the Coho Salmon


POINT LOBOS UNIT - Caring for the Kelp


ANO NUEVO UNIT - Protecting the Food Web of the Elephant Seals




California Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

PORTS has teamed-up with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to teach students about California’s marine protected areas (MPAs).

MPA information is included in five units of study:

The Salmon Lifecycle

Elephant Seals

Kelp Forests

Tide Pool Ecology

Science of Habitat Restoration and Protection

In addition to live videoconferences, students can also dive into MPAs through this innovative PORTS curriculum: MPA Curriculum

Students will learn about individual MPAs, as well as the entire California MPA Network.

They will discover that California MPAs:

  • Are like underwater parks
  • Are one of the largest MPA networks in the world
  • Harbor incredible wildlife
  • Protect California’s marine environment for this and future generations