Introduction to the Scope and Sequence

Introduction | Topics by Grade Band | Topics by Principle

Introduction to the Scope and Sequence

The Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K–12 is an instructional tool that shows how educators can help learners build their understanding of the seven Ocean Literacy Principles throughout grades K–12. Conceptual flow diagrams are used as the graphical illustrations of this progression of understanding and instruction.

There are 28  conceptual flow diagrams in the Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence; there is one conceptual flow for each grade band (K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12) for each principle.

K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
Principle #1 P1: K-2 P1: 3-5 P1: 6-8 P1: 9-12
Principle #2 P2: K-2 P2: 3-5 P2: 6-8 P2: 9-12
Principle #3 P3: K-2 P3: 3-5 P3: 6-8 P3: 9-12
Principle #4 P4: K-2 P4: 3-5 P4: 6-8 P4: 9-12
Principle #5 P5: K-2 P5: 3-5 P5: 6-8 P5: 9-12
Principle #6 P6: K-2 P6: 3-5 P6: 6-8 P6: 9-12
Principle #7 P7: K-2 P7: 3-5 P7: 6-8 P7: 9-12

The conceptual flows present an organized progression of ideas, as each flow resembles a map of nested concepts. The biggest ideas are supported by small ideas, and those small ideas are maintained by even smaller ideas that become learning sequence concepts. Conceptual flow diagrams are intended to be read and taught from top to bottom and from left to right. They can be a versatile tool for several reasons. They:

  • describe the developmentally appropriate concepts at each grade band;
  • graphically illustrate relationships among concepts;
  • provide an example of the sequence in which the concepts can be taught;
  • provide a foundation for an assessment plan;
  • are accessible and useful; and
  • are consistent with learning theory and cognitive science.

Teachers can use conceptual flow diagrams as a backward planning tool. The flow diagrams start with the big ideas that are important for students to learn, and then develop content that gradually builds students’ understanding of these large, often complex, ideas. When teachers use conceptual flow diagrams, their assessments likewise focus on the big ideas.

The conceptual flow diagrams for the Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence are not developed solely for schoolteachers. The graphic illustration can be used by various different stakeholders in the ocean sciences education community, including:

  • informal science educators;
  • national and state standards committees;
  • curriculum development specialists;
  • professional development specialists;
  • textbook writers; and
  • assessment specialists.

For more details about conceptual flow diagrams and their use in the Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence can be found in the NMEA Special Report #3 on the Ocean Literacy Campaign: Strang, C., DiRanna, K., & Topps, J. (2010). Developing the Ideas of Ocean Literacy Using Conceptual Flow Diagrams. Current: Journal of Marine Education, Special Report #3 (The Ocean Literacy Campaign), 27-30.

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