Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures

Using Ocean Adventures in the Classroom
A Word from Jean-Michel Cousteau
Educator Guide to Voyage to Kure
Educator Guide to Sharks at Risk
Educator Guide to The Gray Whale Obstacle Course
Educator Guide to America's Underwater Treasures
Educator Guide to Return to the Amazon
Educator Guide to Sea Ghosts
Educator Guide to Call of the Killer Whale
The Watershed Quest
Tips for Using Science Multimedia
Educator Web Links
Download Library
Outreach Partners


Sea Ghosts Viewing Guide

"If we're going to maintain the balance of our world's ecosystems, if we're going to protect what we love, we cannot afford to be ignorant to what is going on around us -- everywhere on the planet. Belugas seem remote, far from our influence. But they are not...we are very, very connected."

- Jean-Michel Cousteau

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In this one-hour program, Jean-Michel Cousteau travels with his team to the Arctic and sub-Arctic to discover why some beluga groups are thriving and others are disappearing. The relationship between people and belugas is ancient. For more than 4,000 years, hunters of the north have depended on these whales for their own survival in a land with little to offer. These traditional cultures have now partnered with scientists and modern technology to protect the beluga, which, in turn, ensures their own future. Yet these efforts are only a small part of the story as new discoveries have raised troubling questions about the health of belugas and their long-term survival.

watch video
One hour total; viewing it in shorter segments is recommended.

Students will be able to

  • locate the Arctic Circle and Arctic Ocean on a map.
  • identify adaptations of marine mammals, including special adaptations of beluga whales.
  • identify anthropogenic and environmental hazards that have affected and will potentially affect beluga whale populations.


Sea Ghosts

"A Warmer World for Arctic Animals" video

"Beluga Whales" video

"Beluga Whales Under Threat" article

National Science Education Standards, Science Content Standards: Grades 5-8

Grades 5-8
Life Science --
Content Standard C:
Populations and Ecosystems
Diversity and Adaptations of Organisms

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives --
Content Standard F:
Populations, Resources and Environments
Natural Hazards
Science and Technology in Society

Grades 9-12
Life Science --
Content Standard C:
Biological Evolution
The Interdependence of Organisms
The Behavior of Organisms

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives --
Content Standard F:
Environmental Quality
Natural and Human-Induced Hazards
Science and Technology in Local, National and Global Challenges

Ocean Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts
Essential Principle #5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
Essential Principle #6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.


  • Look at a map and do research to answer the following:
    • Where is the Arctic? What countries lie within or partially within the Arctic Circle?
    • Choose two different locations in the Arctic. What are their average monthly temperatures? Compare these with the average monthly temperatures where you live.
    • How does the environment in the Arctic change from summer to winter? What are the most drastic changes?
    • What is the average temperature of the Arctic Ocean?
    • Name five animals that live in the Arctic Ocean.
    • What is the Arctic ice pack? How large is it? Does it change size? Why are scientists concerned about the Arctic ice pack?
  • Study characteristics and adaptations of marine mammals.
  • Complete the "Whale Adaptations" lesson (PDF) on the Ocean Adventures Web site.
  • Read the Sea Ghosts Glossary sheet and write down any unfamiliar words.


  • Refer to the viewing questions that go with each segment of Sea Ghosts. Each question is labeled with a theme: Adaptations, Ecosystems, Human Impact or General. A segment can be viewed alone or combined with other segments.
  • Listen for the vocabulary words you wrote down and try to discover their meaning.


Andrea Swensrud is the KQED Education Network Project Supervisor for Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. She has a master of arts in teaching and has taught and managed marine science education programs. KQED Education Network uses the power of KQED Public Broadcasting to inspire learning by providing projects for youth and curriculum materials and professional development for teachers, child-care providers and families.

Jean‑Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures is produced by KQED Public Broadcasting and the Ocean Futures Society. The corporate sponsor is the Dow Chemical Company. Additional major support comes from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Foundation, KQED Campaign for the Future and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.