Distance Learning FAQs


What is the Ocean Institute?

The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977, is a community-based, non-profit informal education center that provides authentic learning opportunities which align to California State education standards, as well as STEAM initiatives and Common Core. All Ocean Institute programs are designed to maximize immersion, inspire deep commitment to learning and spark curiosity, inquiry, and develop critical thinking skills.

Who are the Ocean Institute Science Staff?

Ocean Institute instructors all have a four-year degree in science or education and have experience teaching in either formal or informal educational settings. All of our instructors are CPR and First Aid certified and have been fingerprinted through the California Department of Justice. Additionally they are trained in Ocean Institute teaching techniques and program curriculum.

What types of programs do you teach?

Our Distance Learning programs cover a variety of concepts and vocabulary including adaptations, predator/prey relationships, habitats, and ecosystem dynamics.

Do the programs include live animals?

Yes, animals will complement specific program themes and concepts. Primarily, they are tide pool animals such as sea stars, hermit crabs, urchins, and snails.

For which grade levels do you have Distance Learning programs?
We offer programs that are grade level targeted for students from Kindergarten through Grade 8.

How long are the Distance Learning programs?

Each program or site visit includes three 50 minute sessions. An additional session may be added for a fee.

How should we be set up for you?

Our preference is one table for our staff to teach from and tables/chairs for the students in a single room such as a multi-purpose room, library, or vacant classroom. We request access to a nearby sink.

How far will your Distance Learning program travel?

On average, the maximum travel radius from Dana Point is 40 miles. However, alterations may be made by the Senior Education Director.

What forms are required for a program?

Upon the completion of your reservation, you will be sent a Visiting Classroom Information Worksheet. This document must be returned to the Ocean Institute as it will provide valuable information to our staff on the day of the program.

How are the program structured?

Two Ocean Institute staff are present for each visit. For a single session, an introduction is given and then the class or group is divided up in half to complete the activities.

What are the minimum and maximum numbers of students per program?

There is no required minimum number of students and activity sessions have a maximum count of 35.

I am a special education teacher, can my students participate?
Yes, we have programs specifically tailored to engage students of all learning abilities.

Anything else I should know?

Please reserve a parking space and provide a straightforward route to the room.