National Geographic Encounter is a first-of-its-kind, truly immersive experience that opens with Ocean Odyssey. Using technology, students embark on a virtual underwater journey across the Pacific Ocean, exploring some of the ocean’s greatest wonders and mightiest creatures. Created in a 60,000-square-foot space in Times Square, students can walk across an ocean floor and investigate a variety of ecosystems that come to life through groundbreaking technology. Video mapping, 8K photographic animation, mega-projection screens, sound, and interactive, real-time tracking bring students face-to-face with sea life—from great white sharks and humpback whales to Humboldt squids and sea lions.
At the completion of the transect, students resurface to learn more about the creatures and habitats they encountered. They engage further with more interactive technologies—such as holograms and touch screens—that highlight important ocean conservation and scientific research themes.
Visit National Geographic Encounter for more information on how your students can have the ultimate undersea experience without getting wet!
These guides can help you make the most of your trip to
National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Times Square
Use these curated materials to teach about ocean topics
Students learn about bioluminescence and conduct an experiment to learn how ocean animals use bioluminescence for camouflage.
Students learn about reef ecology with a focus on biodiversity and symbiotic relationships in the coral reef ecosystem. They play a matching game to identify reef organisms and roles and they discuss human threats to coral reef health.
Students brainstorm and analyze competing ocean resources and uses. They experiment with designating a marine protected area along an imaginary coastline and discuss the challenges of deciding on rules and restrictions within it.
Students discuss how they and other organisms adapt to survive in different environments. They discover the characteristics of deep-sea extremophiles that help those organisms survive in several deep-sea ecosystems.
Students describe their experiences with beaches, compare and contrast photographs of beaches, and brainstorm how humans living near the ocean affect ocean plants and animals.
Students brainstorm how people living along coasts harm ocean animals and plants. Then they analyze specific examples.
Students learn about waves by comparing and contrasting photographs and watching a hands-on demonstration.
Students use an interactive tool to create their own waves.
Students investigate people's historic relationship with whales and compare it to people's attitudes toward whales today.
Students use observation skills to determine taxonomic differences between seals and sea lions.
Students measure and use measurement conversions to learn about the size of six ocean animals and compare the animals' sizes to their own.
Students categorize photos and other representations of organisms as plants, invertebrates, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, or amphibians. Then they use a diagram of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem to identify species that live in the Gulf of Mexico and categorize them.
Students learn about trophic levels in a marine food pyramid. Students play a game and complete mathematic equations to learn what happens to coral reef health when shark populations decrease.
Students plot the migration routes of actual leatherback sea turtles using data from satellites tracking the turtles as they cross the Atlantic Ocean.
Students work together to illustrate the water cycle as a class. Each student writes an imaginary story about the journey of one drop of water going through the water cycle. Then students discuss some of the reasons why our ocean is important.
Students research members of the team behind the historic DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition and then take on the role of a team member in a simulation of a deep-sea expedition.
Students study whale migration routes using a map scale. They create stories of whale migrations drawing upon the reasons behind animal migration.
Students brainstorm and display on a map a variety of ways they are connected to the ocean.
Students analyze three broad ocean habitats, the characteristics and conditions of each, and research the animals of each zone and their adaptations.
Students explore the boundaries of Earth's five oceans, recognizing that they are all connected. Students discuss what this means for conservation of the one world ocean.
Students compare percentages of protected land and protected ocean and discuss the value of marine protected areas.
Students read about the establishment of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument and discuss why it is important to preserve the Mariana Trench and surrounding area.
Students learn about the three ocean light zones, make predictions about deep-sea resources, and read about those resources and their value to science and businesses.
Students research five species of sea turtles and compare and contrast them. Then they use a map of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to discuss the effect of oil on sea turtles.
Students analyze data and maps to understand how increased population growth impacts the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Then they explore how the health of the bay affects its animals.
Students use maps to learn about ocean currents, research case studies of ocean spills, and discuss the role of oceanographers.
Students locate the Mariana Trench on a map, discuss who has jurisdiction over it, and identify the challenges of exploring the deepest place on Earth.
Students watch demonstrations and a video to understand where water travels when it goes down a drain and how water pollutants impact a larger area.
This project-based learning experience culminates with students using their new knowledge about marine ecology and human impacts on the ocean to create and propose a management plan for a Marine Protected Area.
Students research and compare three deep-sea exploration vehicles to determine how the designs of these vehicles have changed over time.
Students investigate types of marine ecosystems, identify examples of these ecosystems and their characteristics, and locate the ecosystems on a map of the world's oceans.
Students learn about the world’s largest “landfill,” make a connection to their own lives, and calculate how much trash they generate in a week, a year, and ten years.
What was done to clean up the oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? How effective were those efforts?
National Geographic has set out to protect 20 of the ocean’s wildest places by 2020. Learn more about this project and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala.
Learn more about National Geographic Explorers working to protect the oceans
Explore these dynamic ocean-themed GeoStories
Use these maps to help your students understand their geographic relationship to the oceans
Encourage students to learn more about the ocean with these encyclopedic entries
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms within a given area.
Bioluminescence is light emitted by living things through chemical reactions in their bodies.
Climate is the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. Weather is the state of the atmosphere over short periods of time.
Climate change is a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns. Often climate change refers specifically to the rise in global temperatures from the mid 20th century to present.
The Earth’s natural resources include air, water, soil, minerals, plants, and animals. Conservation is the practice of caring for these resources so all living things can benefit from them now and in the future.
A current is the steady, predictable movement of a fluid within a larger body of that fluid. Fluids are materials capable of flowing and easily changing shape.
An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life.
An endangered species is a type of organism that is threatened by extinction. Species become endangered for two main reasons: loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation.
The food chain describes who eats whom in the wild.
A food web consists of all the food chains in a single ecosystem.
Global warming describes the current rise in the average temperature of Earth’s air and ocean. Global warming is often described as the most recent example of climate change.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water.
A keystone species helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.
Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water.
A marine park is a type of marine protected area (MPA). An MPA is a section of the ocean where a government has placed limits on human activity.
A marine protected area (MPA) is a section of the ocean where a government has placed limits on human activity. Many MPAs allow people to use the area in ways that do not damage the environment.
A marine reserve is a type of marine protected area (MPA). An MPA is a section of the ocean where a government has placed limits on human activity.
A marine sanctuary is a general type of marine protected area.
A no-take zone is an area set aside by a government where no extractive activity is allowed. Extractive activity is any action that extracts, or removes, any resource.
The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth's surface.
Ocean trenches are long, narrow depressions on the seafloor. These chasms are the deepest parts of the ocean—and some of the deepest natural spots on Earth.
Oceanography is the study of all aspects of the ocean. Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, from marine life and ecosystems to currents and waves, the movement of sediments, and seafloor geology.
Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants.
A reef is a ridge of material at or near the surface of the ocean. There are natural and artificial reefs.
People often use the term “sea” to refer to the ocean. To geographers, a sea is a division of the ocean that is enclosed or partly enclosed by land.
Sustainable fishing guarantees there will be populations of ocean and freshwater wildlife in the future.
The New York-New Jersey Baykeeper's oyster restoration program is trying to rebuild oyster reefs within the Hudson-Raritan Estuary.
Kakani Katija is an ocean-focused bioengineer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Case study of the marine protected area at Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica.
Case study of the marine protected area of the Galápagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador.
Case study of the marine protected area at Point Sur State Marine Reserve and Point Sur State Marine Conservation Area, California.
Learn the risks our world's coral reefs are facing and what they mean for our future and the future of the ocean.
Marine microbiologist Dr. Douglas Bartlett and marine geologist Dr. Patricia Fryer share information obtained from the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition.
Erika Bergman is taking citizen science to a new level by inviting students to participate in her expeditions through video chats.
A short article on National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tierney Thys and her ocean sunfish research.
Dr. Christina Symons is a geologist mapping one of the last unexplored regions of Earth—the seafloor!
William Gilly is a Stanford University biology professor who specializes in research on the Humboldt squid.
Profile of marine mammal research biologist John Calambokidis.
Introduction to the types and goals of marine protected areas.
Michael Lombardi explains his deep-diving work and offers suggestions to students who hope to pursue a career in ocean exploration.
Dr. Robert Ballard is an ocean explorer who has discovered shipwrecks (including the R.M.S. Titanic!) as well as the weird world of hydrothermal vents.
Profile of Dr. Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
Use video to illustrate marine reserves, currents, and climate change
Watch this video with your family and friends to learn small steps that have a big impact on the well-being of our oceans.
Scientists across the globe are trying to figure out why the ocean is becoming more violent and what, if anything, can be done about it. Ocean currents, including the ocean conveyor belt, play a key role in determining how the ocean distributes heat energy throughout the planet, thereby regulating and stabilizing climate patterns.
Loggerhead sea turtles face an uncertain future.
In this clip from Years of Living Dangerously, actor Joshua Jackson scuba dives along the Great Barrier Reef, an ecosystem at risk due to climate change.
An Encyclopedia of Life podcasts on pteropod "sea butterflies."
Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala reviews general facts about each ocean within the one world ocean.
Learn alongside Mel the fish!
A healthy ocean means a healthy planet!
Explore select sea life photographs and their supporting content with your class
How light dims in the ocean.
This sea star is a beautiful example of pentamerism, or being divided into five parts.
Bizarre or beguiling? The weird, wonderful life of the anglerfish.
These pretty swimmers are voracious predators.
One fishing crew's crazy ocean catch!
An enduring, and sustainable, Hawaiian tradition.
Dive into these ocean images with your students