‘Kelp’ us Expand Maine’s Place-based Elementary Curriculum!

Upcoming Education Opportunities

Read ME 2024 Book Announcement & Registration!

Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) are SO pleased to announce their choice for the MAITC Read ME Agriculture program for 2024 is
The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson.

The program will be held March 18-22, 2024. Every classroom that participates will receive a copy of the book and accompanying educator’s guide, with aligned classroom activities.
To best serve the hundreds of classrooms that participate in Read ME each year, the 2024 program will be a hybrid model where classrooms can choose from in-person and virtual options. Classrooms may choose their own reader or ask MAITC for help. Contacts may register their own classroom or schools may choose 1 contact to register multiple classrooms.
MAITC is planning separate virtual sessions for grades PK – 1 and 2 – 4 this year.

If you are interested in participating, please complete this google form by February 9, 2024 and MAITC will contact you by email to fine tune your participation.

January 18th & March 18th, 2024:

Come learn about and experience activities from GMRI’s new Local Seafood in Maine Schools curriculum designed for students in grades 5-9. Two Dates:
GMRI’s new curriculum module is focused on the importance of seafood across communities and cultures and celebrating its environmental, economic and nutritional benefits. Lessons are aligned to Maine middle school science, health and social studies standards and are designed to help students share, connect and learn about fish and seafood both locally and globally.

Educate Maine With a Little Kelp from Our Friends!

Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, in collaboration with The World Wildlife Fund, is on a mission to get educational resources about seaweed aquaculture into Maine’s  elementary classrooms. During the summer and fall of 2023 we distributed 1000 copies of With a Little Kelp from Our Friends– a book on the secret life of seaweed written by Mathew Bate and illustrated by Liz Rowland– to educators across the state. The book is accompanied by teacher resources designed to increase literacy around seaweed aquaculture, which can be found on this webpage. 

Some of the book’s important themes include:

  • Seaweed farming and food security
  • Seaweed biology and ecology
  • History of seaweed use around the world
  • Seaweed’s role in solutions for a changing climate

Teaching these ideas to kids at an early age will help them understand why seaweed aquaculture is important to Maine and how it can help…

  • Stabilize our fishing community in the face of a changing climate and ocean
  • Preserve working waterfronts
  • Provide food with high nutritional value to our communities
With a Little Kelp from Our Friends cover

Important Project Updates!

Seaweed Curriculum Resources Updates

We are currently finalizing and posting curriculum resources to this page! If you find/create additional seaweed activities for k-8 students that you would like to share with this educational community, please submit them using the form below!

November- February: ‘Kelp’ Us Learn video series roll out

Our video series with Maine seaweed professionals is being developed and will be added to the curriculum on this webpage as they become available. Get a taste of this video series here with our latest episode on early earth and seaweed featuring Susan Brawley and Jessie Muhlin!

Number of Books Distributed (out of 1,000)

Photos from the Seaweed Educators' Workshop on November 3rd!

Let’s get started!

We want to empower YOU to teach your students about aquaculture. 

In addition to providing hard copies of With a Little Kelp from Our Friends to Maine 4-6 educators, we have gathered, reviewed, and created resources to accompany key sections of the book. This seaweed curriculum is available to all educators and can be found below.  

MAIC would like to specifically thank Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H and Maine Agriculture in the Classroom for their key roles in developing and categorizing these resources. 

For an introduction to seaweed aquaculture and this project, check out our webinar where we cover:

  • the global context of seaweed aquaculture
  • seaweed aquaculture in Maine
  • seaweed education opportunies and project information

We also hear from a panel of profesionals in the seaweed world about their work bringing seaweed to Maine communities.

Seaweed Educational Materials for Elementary Classrooms

We divided the book With a Little Kelp from Our Friends into 13 topic areas plus an introduction and a conclusion. Information, classroom activities, and resources for further research are gathered below.

Section 1: Introduction

Learn about seaweed farming with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in this short video!

Easy to grow, versatile, and beneficial to ocean ecosystems, seaweed is a carbon-sequestering super plant. It can even be farmed as an efficient way to produce highly nutritious food for both humans and animals alike. If seaweed can be farmed at scale, there is potential for significant and meaningful impacts for people, nature, and climate.

About this Section:  This section is an immersion into the world of Seaweed. It orients students to seaweed in Maine and how this industry mirrors themes  found in With a Little Kelp From Our Friends.

Activities and Links: 

  1. Skills Inventory (Pre-assessment)
  2. Seaweed Word Wall

About the Activity: The Skills Inventory (Pre-Assessment) is a google form educators can use with their students as a pre-assessment. It is designed to help educators guage the amount of learning gained through the use of this seaweed curriculum. The Word Wall is a document that can be printed and used as a visual for students as they work through these new concepts in the classroom.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Introduction featuring Jaclyn Robidoux (Maine Sea Grant) and Maya Pelletier (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center)

Book Pages: 4-5

Check out SEAWEED: GROWING UNDERWATER FORESTS TO “KELP” OUR PLANET with Bailey Moritz from the World Wildlife Fund!

When we think about what lives in our oceans, we might overlook the thousands of species of plant-like seaweed that grow all over the world. One type of seaweed in particular, kelp, is excellent at creating habitat, cleaning our coasts, and serving as a healthy food. It’s also one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet! Just like we can grow our own broccoli and potatoes, farmers are growing seaweed to benefit the environment and their communities. Join Bailey Moritz, WWF seaweed expert, as she walks through the beautiful biology of seaweed and the hopeful solutions kelp farms can bring to the ocean.

For teaching materials that accompany this video (including warm-up and quiz questions, lesson plans, and resource links) visit the Conservation in the Classroom Archive and Resources page and download the free supplemental material packet: www.worldwildlife.org/pages/conservation-in-the-classroom-archive-and-resources

Conservation in the Classroom is a virtual livestream series that connects students with WWF experts and scientists. To sign up for notifications and join upcoming live events, visit www.wildclassroom.org/livestream 

Section 2: Early Earth and Seaweed

About this Section: In the early days of life on earth, seaweed played an important role in helping to form the atmosphere and life on earth. This section talks about those early days and the evolution of seaweeds since.

Activity Name and Link: Seaweed Evolution Game

About the Activity: The Seaweed Evolution Game is an active classroom activity that gets students up and moving, engaged in a game that explores different phases of seaweed evolution.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Early Earth and Algae featuring Susan Brawley (University of Maine) and Jessie Muhlin (Maine Maritime Academy)

Book Pages: 6-11

Section 3: Seaweed Reproduction and Hatcheries

About this Section: When we farm seaweed, we start the process in the controlled setting of a hartchery. Seaweed reproduction is not a straightforward affair, and working in a hatchery allows scientists and farmers to give baby seaweeds (called gametophytes) the best chance at progressing to their next life stage (sporophytes). This section covers the complexity of seaweed life history. 

Activity Name and Link: Kelp Nursery Model

About the Activity: The Kelp Nursery Model activity asks students to think about the needs of a baby seaweed and how we can meet those needs in a hatchery setting. They will design their own hatchery system to meet those needs.

*This activity aligns with two NGSS standards:

  • 5-LS1-1. Support an argument that ‘plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.’
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Seaweed Reproduction and Hatcheries featuring Adam St. Gelais (Aquaculture Research Institute)

Book Pages: 12-13

Special Thanks: This activity heavily references Maine Sea Grant’s Kelp Nursery set up.

Section 4: Seaweed Biology

About this Section: To farm a complex organism like seaweed, we first need to understand how the organisms lives and grows. This section talks about seaweed biology and what these creatures need to grow happily in their environment.

Activity Name and Link: Seaweed vs. Plant Comparison

About the Activity: The Seaweed vs. Plant Comparison activity focuses on the ways in which seaweed anatomy and plant anatomy are similar and different.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Seaweed Biology featuring Jaclyn Robidoux (Maine Sea Grant)

Book Pages: 14-17

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of BioMara

Section 5: Seaweed Ecology

About this Section: When we seaweed grows it forms part of a physical and biological environment known as an ecosystem. This section focuses on how seaweed fits into this environment, the organisms it interacts with, and the role it plays in the marine ecosystem.

Activity Name and Link: Kelp Forest Towers

About the Activity: The Kelp Forest Towers activity considers the concept of an ecosystem and examines the myriad factors that impact ecosystem health. Using an interactive, hands-on game students will explore how small changes can radiate through a larger system. They will also consider the roles humans can play to hurt or help ecosystem health.

*This activity aligns with the following NGSS standards:

  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Seaweed Ecology featuring Gretchen Grebe (Marine Biological Laboratory) and Maya Pelletier (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center)

Book Pages: 18-21

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Section 6: Let’s Eat Seaweed!

About this Section: Seaweed has been part of human diets around the world for thousands of years and provides an important source of nutrition to many people. The section explore the many ways we humans eat seaweed today, including ways we have had seaweed without even knowing it! 

Activity Name and Link: Got Seaweed?

About the Activity: Got Seaweed? asks students to research foods they encounter regularly to determine if they contain seaweed and seaweed extracts.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Let’s Eat Seaweed! featuring Seraphina Erhart (Maine Coast Sea Vegetables)

Book Pages: 22-27

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Learn about health benefits of eating seaweed from experts in this short video from TIME!

Is seaweed healthy? Does it count as a vegetable? Are all kinds nutritionally the same?

Section 7: Diversity in the Seaweed Industry

Learn about seaweed farming with the Maine Aquaculture Association and Atlantic Sea Farms in this short video!

Lobsterman Keith Miller of Spruce Head, Maine, looks to diversify his business by farming kelp, a crop which runs countercyclical to the lobstering season. Keith has partnered with Atlantic Sea Farms (ASF), which provides his seed each fall and purchases his harvested kelp every spring. Atlantic Sea Farms turns freshly harvested kelp into delicious, fresh kelp foods. CEO Bri Warner discusses the important role aquaculture can play in diversifying our marine economy and sustaining traditional livelihoods along the coast of Maine.

About this Section: People from all different backgrounds work with seaweed all around the world! In Maine, we have a diverse industry and a rich, working waterfront history that strengthens both our communities and the seaweed sector.

Activity Name and Link: Seaweed Celebrity

About the Activity: The Seaweed Celebrity game encourages students to consider a variety of careers in the seaweed industry from research to farming to product development while interacting with peers.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Seaweed is for Everyone, featuring Briana Warner (Atlantic Sea Farms) and David Black (Lobsterman)

Book Pages: 28-31

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Section 8: Seaweed for Our Health

About this Section:  Seaweed has many health benefits as a result of the micro and macronutrients in its tissue. This means that seaweeds are commonly used in natural remedies, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. 

Activity Name and Link: Seaweed Face Mask

About the Activity: By makeing the Seaweed Face Mask students are able to try out some of the benefits of seaweed themselves and create something they can take home to share with their family. 

Book Pages: 32-33

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of With a Little Kelp from Our Friends

Section 9: Seaweed, Shipping, and the Sea

About this Section: When you think of seaweed, what comes to mind first? Many people think of seaweed as a slimy, somewhat erie tendril lurking in the intertidal zone. However, it is important to consider the beauty of seaweed and the role it has played in our history. When we think about seaweed in new ways, we realized it isn’t actually scary at all!

Activity Name and Link: Intertidal Mural and associated coloring pages

About the Activity: In this creative activity making an Intertidal Mural, students learn more about Maine seaweeds and where they grow while contributing to a fun classroom visual.

*This activity aligns with the following NGSS standards:

  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Seaweed, Shipping, and the Sea featuring Cipperly Good (Penobscot Marine Museum)

Book Pages: 34-35


About this Section: THIS SECTION IS STILL IN THE HATCHERY PHASE!  When we finish the materials, they will be posted here. Check back regularly for updates.

Activity Name and Link:

About the Activity: 

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video:

Book Pages: 

Special Thanks:

Section 11: Building a Seaweed World

Learn about seaweed and bioplastics  from Business Insider in this short video!

A California startup makes compostable replacements for thin-film plastic out of seaweed. The company sources raw materials from seaweed farms, which can provide habitat for sea life, combat ocean acidification, and create jobs.

About this Section: The idea of eating seaweed doesn’t appeal to everyone– afterall, seaweed can seem a bit slimy and salty. However, there are many people in the seaweed industry coming up with new and innovative ways to introduce seaweed to our lives, and not all of these ideas include making seaweed into food! Seaweed can also be used to make bioplastic, biofuel, textiles, and much more!

Activity Name and Link: Seaweed Products and Marketing

About the Activity: In the Seaweed Products and Marketing activity students get to try their hand at marketing seaweed products in a way that encourage other people to want to try them.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Building a Seaweed World featuring Rob Dumas (University of Maine) and Caitlin Hillery (UMaine)

Book Pages: 38-39

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC)

Section 12: Seaweed and Cows

About this Section: Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere trap sunlight and cause the planet to get warmer. Ruminant animals, like cows– which are farmed for meat and dairy products– release a lot of methane into the atmosphere through their burps. Seaweed has chemical properties that can help reduce these harmful emissions when fed to cows. 

Activity Name and Link: Greenhouse Effect

About the Activity: The Greenhouse Effect activity explores how changes in atmospheric gas composition impacts the amount of heat retained in that atmosphere. 

*This activity aligns with the following NGSS standards:

  •  5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the earth’s resources and environment.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Get MOOtivated for Seaweed featuring Nichole Price (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science)

Book Pages: 40-41

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of NASA

Learn about seaweed and methane reduction with Bigelow Laboratory in this short video!

Bigelow Laboratory scientists are working to reduce methane emission by cattle – one of the largest human-caused sources of the greenhouse gas. The researchers are leading a team of partners from throughout the Northeast that hopes to use algae-based feed supplements to reduce cattle’s environmental impact.

Section 13: Seaweed, Ecosystem Services, and Climate Change

Learn about seaweed farming and ecology with The Nature Conservancy in this short video!

Restorative aquaculture may be one of the best opportunities to simultaneously restore marine ecosystems and provide nutritious food for current and future populations. When done well and in the right places seaweed aquaculture can provide habitat, for fish and other animals to shelter, feed and reproduce. In partnership with the University of New England and University of Auckland, The Nature Conservancy is researching the role of seaweed aquaculture as habitat, and what drives this role so that restorative aquaculture can be developed in geographies across the world.

About this Section: We’ve talked a lot about the direct benefits that seaweed privides, but what about indirect benefits? Growing seaweed can have many positive impacts on the areas where it is grown, both for the environment and the surrounding communities. These benefits can be described as ‘ecosystem services’ or ‘positive externatities’ of seaweed farming. 

Activity Name and Link: Go Fish for Seaweed

About the Activity: In the Go Fish for Seaweed activity students will learn to identify some Maine seaweeds then play an interactive game to reinforce this new knowledge. 

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Seaweed’s Helping Hand featuring Carrie Byron (University of New England) and Susie Arnold (Island Institute)

Book Pages: 42-51

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Cooperative Extension: 4-H

Section 14: Seaweed Aquaculture

About this Section: Now that we’ve learned so much about the many ways seaweed can be used in the human and natural world, let’s talk about seaweed farming! Growing seaweed via aquaculture can support communities economically while also providing ecological benefits.

Activity Name and Link: Aquaculture Equipment

About the Activity: In the Aquaculture Equipment activity students explore the equipments need to construct a seaweed farm and successfully cultivate seaweed.

*This activity aligns with the following NGSS standards:

  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Coming soon! Let’s Farm Seaweed featuring Morgan Fogg (Nautical Farms) and Jake Patryn (Nautical Farms)

Book Pages: 52-54

Special Thanks: Activity courtesy of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC)

Hear a story of farming seaweed from Jake and Morgan at Nautical Farms in this short video!

Part of a series of short documentary films designed to share the stories of Maine’s sea farmers.

Learn about the potential capacity of seaweed farming and Scott Lindell from WHOI in this short TEDx video!

Current farming and fishing practices are having devastating impacts on our climate and environment. Scott Lindell, Research Specialist at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, reveals how marine aquaculture can sustainably feed the world’s growing population. As US policies make it almost impossible to meaningfully develop fish, shellfish, and seaweed farms, he shows how simple changes to our diets and policies will drive this more sustainable future.

Section 15: Conclusion

About this Section: We hope this seaweed curriculum inspires you and helps you to bring the ocean into your classroom! We are so grateful for the work you do to educate Maine youth, and hope this curriculum is just the beginning of your marine adventure. 

Activity Name and Link: Skills Inventory (Post-assessment)

About the Activity: The Skills Inventory (Post-Assessment) is a google form educators can use with their strudents as a post-assessment . It is designed to help educators evaluate and guage the amount of learning gained through the use of this seaweed curriculum.

‘Kelp’ Us Learn Video: Conclusion featuring Jaclyn Robidoux (Maine Sea Grant) and Maya Pelletier (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center)

Book Pages: 56-57