About the Classroom

The Coastal Classroom is a collaborative effort between START (Solutions to Avoid Red Tide) and Sanibel Sea School to educate Lee County students about locally relevant coastal and marine issues.  This module is a prototype designed specifically for 7th grade students.

Lee County’s economy depends heavily on coastal resources.  The Gulf of Mexico is home to many important fisheries, which fishermen depend upon for their livelihoods.  Our abundant wildlife species and the beautiful beaches, bays, and estuaries they call home, attract visitors from around the globe, supporting a tourism industry that provides thousands of jobs for local citizens.

It is necessary to educate young Lee County residents about the importance of conserving our coastal and marine resources early on, so that they can protect and continue to benefit from these resources in the future.  The Coastal Classroom’s goal is to provide pertinent information about factors that influence coastal water quality and living in harmony with the ocean in a way that is easily integrated with the knowledge base students are currently attempting to master.

Each lesson includes age-appropriate suggestions for practicing good stewardship, so students can begin to develop skills to protect the ocean starting today.

Lesson topics have been carefully selected with input from Lee County educators to integrate seamlessly with Florida’s Sunshine Standards and current textbooks

An Overview of The Coastal Classroom Online Module

The Home page is where you will find a complete list of Coastal Classroom topics. Each topic relates to specific Sunshine Standard(s) and/or textbook lesson(s).  Click any topic to access the lesson materials.

There are two versions of each topic – one for teachers and one for students. The website for teachers is password protected.

The “For Educators” page under each topic includes:

  • An overview of the lesson material, which includes all of the information in the lesson plus some additional details and background information for educators.
  • Suggestions for practicing good stewardship, if applicable to the lesson.
  • Links to additional external resources.
  • Classroom activity ideas.
  • A list of and/or links to any prep materials necessary for suggested classroom activities.
  • A set of review questions with answers.
  • A video related to the lesson. In some cases, you can download the video in advance.  Other videos are available to view online during class.  We have included the option of downloading podcasts in advance whenever possible as a way for educators to avoid technical difficulties in the classroom.

The “For Students” page under each topic includes:

  • The lesson material – this page can be displayed on the Smartboard during class, or educators can use the information to create a Powerpoint or other type of presentation.
  • Suggestions for practicing good stewardship.
  • Review questions without answers.
  • Links to classroom activities, if applicable.  For example, if the classroom activity is completing a crossword puzzle on the Smartboard, there will be a link to the crossword puzzle on this page.
  • A link to the podcast.  If you have not downloaded it in advance, you can access it online from the student page during your lesson.

Each lesson includes a glossary, which outlines key vocabulary words throughout the lesson.  There is also a comprehensive glossary of terms from all lessons.


START is committed to scientific research and educational outreach.  The research we support is focused on the control and mitigation of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) such as red tide to help maintain coastal water quality.  Our educational outreach goal is to inform the public about the health, environmental and economic impacts of Harmful Algae Blooms.

START’s vision is to improve the quality of our marine waters through research, public education, and programs that restore marine habitats, preserve marine species, and promote healthy beaches and coastal waterways.  

About Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to marine conservation through transformative education, communication, and research.

Sanibel Sea School uses the complex ecosystems of Sanibel Island and Lee County as a setting to provide educational experiences to people of all ages.  It is through these programs that students develop an intimate bond with the ocean and its inhabitants, and gain an enhanced awareness of our global environment.  Sanibel Sea School’s programs and educational materials focus on fostering good environmental stewardship practices among students, preparing them to care for our valuable coastal resources responsibly.