NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher : Sea Turtles

Turtle Nesting

Whole Class Introduction to the Lesson

You will need at least one computer with Internet connectivity and a projection device, a classroom with more than one computer, or access to a computer lab.  This introduction will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Project the following video clips for the whole class. View them in order as listed.


Sample Questions:

  • How does the female sea turtle move on the sand?
  • Watch her dig, describe the nesting process. Is it fast?
  • Describe what you observe when the baby sea turtles begin to hatch and emerge from the sand.


As part of the introduction, you may want to review some of the glossary terms in advance of students going online. At this point you can launch the WebLesson as whole-class activity using a projection device, or you can assign students to work individually or in teams in a computer lab.



Excellent (30 - 20)

An excellent student response meets all the project requirements and demonstrates that the student absorbed key lesson concepts and gave them thoughtful consideration. The response shows original thinking, creativity, and a strong sense of purpose. Ideas are organized and clearly articulated according to the proper conventions of writing (at this grade level).

Satisfactory (20 - 10)

A satisfactory student response meets most of the project requirements but overlooks one or more important elements. It reflects a general understanding of the key lesson concepts but shows little depth. The response shows little creativity or originality. Ideas are somewhat disorganized and difficult to follow, and there are numerous grammatical and mechanical errors.

Needs Improvement (10 - 0)

The student response is perfunctory, showing little or no effort. It is unclear if the student thought about or even read any of the lesson content. Ideas are scattered or off-topic. If possible, ask the student to revisit the lesson with a peer or mentor and then rewrite his or her response.


WebLesson Sites
Sea turtles are some of the most beautiful and mysterious ocean reptiles. Crawling up onto the beaches in darkness at night, they dig holes for their nests, deposit their eggs, and return to the sea - never to see their young.

Sea turtles nest mainly in the summer months and return to the beaches between 2 and 7 times over a season to lay their eggs.

The nests are abandoned and should the eggs survive, the hatchlings must make the dash of their lives to the safety of the sea. Between their nest and the water, a myriad of predators and obstacles make their survival a seemingly impossible feat.
A group of students from your school has been selected to lead a campaign to educate the public about the sea turtles that use the local beaches. You are in charge of coordinating the activities that will help make people around your town aware of the importance of keeping the beaches clear, quiet, and dark for the turtles.
Lesson Pages
Life Cycle of a Turtle
Rich Media
Conclusion & Project
The female sea turtle exits the safety of the water and slowly crawls up the beach to a place safe from the tide. Using her rear flippers, she flips sand out to create a chamber in the sand. Depending on the species, she fills the hole with about 100 ping-pong ball sized eggs. After covering the eggs with sand, she leaves the nest site and disappears into the water.

Some sea turtles nest every year and other will skip a year or two. Factors such as food availability, environmental conditions, and climate can all affect their nesting habits.
Make a list of ways that your group can educate the community about the importance of protecting the beach environment to ensure a safe nesting experience for all sea turtles?
XX chromosome - the chromosomes a mammal needs to be female
XY chromosome - the chromosomes a mammal needs to be male
arribadas - a mass nesting behavior, when a large number of females come on shore at the same time and place to nest
chromosome - threadlike structure of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes
clutch - a complete set of eggs, produced and incubated at one time, in one nest
dune - mound or ridge of sand or other loose sediment formed by the wind, especially on the sea coast
egg tooth - hard white protuberance on the jaw of an embryo reptile that is used for breaking out of the shell and is later lost
en masse - in a group; all together
flotsam - floating refuse or debris
hatchling - young animal that has recently emerged from its egg
incubation - the warming of eggs in a protective cavity which provides the necessary environment for embryos to develop and eventually hatch
indicator - device or method that provides specific information on the state or condition of something
juvenile - not fully grown or developed; young
margins - edges
neritic - the region of shallow seas near a coastline
orient - find a position relative to the surroundings
parallel - side by side, having the same distance between them continuously
pivotal - crucial importance in relation to the development or success of something
punctuated - occur at intervals throughout a space or time
sexual maturity - the age or stage when an organism can reproduce
species - group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding
yearling - an animal that is a year old, or in its second year