All About Algae


    “I really liked how we were taught about so many different types of algae of all types. I learned a lot of things that I really didn’t know before. . .I love keying out algae species, I always find doing it very fun.”
    ~ Student K.R.

    Enrollment Options


    InstructorProf. Emma Stein
    Content LevelsGrades 6-7 • Middle School
    Grades 7-8 • Junior High
    Grades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Course Length8 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnWednesdays, 11:00 - 11:50 AM Pacific - 8/17/22 - 10/15/22

    In this class, we’ll discuss the wondrous world of marine algae! Most people don’t think about algae very often, but they are a vital component of our lives. The oxygen algae produce makes up at least half of the world’s total oxygen production (depending on the estimate and the source). Plus, the majority of oil we use for fuel comes from ancient algae. So, what are algae anyway?

    Our class will explore the main groups of algae, comparing and contrasting them along the way. Have you ever encountered an algal life cycle before? They are a little more complicated than flowering plants’ life cycles! We’ll also discover other ways algae are important, how they fit into ecosystems around the world, and much more!

    Students will also be given opportunities to practice using dichotomous (two-choice) keys to determine the species name of an algal specimen. Students working at a higher level will explore scientific articles concerning algae. Students may also choose to present a short presentation on an algal species of their choice!

    It’s all about algae!

    For a list of scientific skills students will develop, see the What to Expect tab.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • One research forum—in which students will be given the opportunity to research an algal species from the week’s group.
    • One activity forum—in which students can show their creativity through an activity.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.
    • An activity at the end of the webinar.

    Scientific skills students will develop:

    • Knowledge of complicated life history strategies.
    • Knowledge of taxonomy and algal groups.
    • How to use a dichotomous key for identifying organisms.
    • Research using general Internet sources as well as scientific articles for advanced students.
    • Presenting research findings.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 5th-grade level or above.
    • Write a few sentences independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Any readings will be online, no textbook required.