Teacher Toolbox - Sea Turtle

Welcome to the Teacher Toolbox! Here you will find a broad variety of instructional resources to compliment your students' viewing of Saving a Species: Sea Turtles. Use these materials to construct lesson plans, spark discussion, and inspire your students to become active participants in preserving the world we share with wildlife.




  • Bycatch: animals unintentionally caught during fishing operations
  • Carapace: in turtles, the dorsal (top) part of the shell
  • Carbuncle: the egg tooth of a sea turtle hatchling, which it uses to break out of the egg
  • Dorsal: pertaining to the back or top surface of the body
  • Ecosystem: a unit of plants, animals, and non-living components of an environment that interact
  • Ectothermic: cold blooded. Body temperature varies with the temperature of the surrounding environment.
  • Endangered: a population of organisms that is at risk of becoming extinct.
  • Environment: one's surroundings
  • Food web: diagram that shows the many complex interconnections of "who eats whom" in an ecosystem
  • Habitat: the normal, usual, or natural place where a plant or animal lives
  • Hatchling: a newly hatched sea turtle
  • Invertebrate: any animal that lacks a backbone / spinal column
  • Juvenile: a young animal that has not reached adult size or maturity
  • Marine: related to the seas or oceans
  • Plastron: the ventral (bottom) part of a turtle's shell
  • Predator: an animal that eats other animals
  • Prey: an animal that is eaten by another animal
  • Reptile: a class of vertebrates that includes snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and turtles. Reptiles are cold-blooded, have scales, breath air, and most lay eggs.
  • Threatened: populations of organisms that are vulnerable to extinction in the near future
  • Ventral: pertaining to the underside or bottom surface




  • Under the Shell
    • Name as many kinds of sea turtles as you can. What do they all have in common?
    • How are sea turtles adapted to live in the ocean? Describe some adaptations for moving through water and avoiding predators.
  • Against the Odds, Part 1
    • Even before they hatch, sea turtles face tremendous odds against surviving to maturity. What are some of the threats they confront?
    • About how many sea turtles from a single nest can be expected to survive to adulthood?
  • Against the Odds, Part 2
    • Sea turtles travel thousands of miles from the time of hatching to when they return to land to lay their own eggs. Describe this nesting process.
    • What are some challenges female sea turtle must overcome during the nesting process?
  • Turtles, Turtles Everywhere
    • Sea turtles are cold-blooded. Describe how water temperatures affect sea turtles. What are the symptoms of a cold stunned sea turtle?
    • Why is it important to help sea turtles in need?
  • Sea Turtle Conservation
    • Sea turtles are found in oceans around the world. What are some of the challenges they face in different regions of the world?
    • List ways people can help save endangered and threatened sea turtles.