TIDES (Teaching Interdisciplinary and Experiential Sciences) was launched in Boulder, CO in 2011 to connect students to our ocean, regardless of where they live. Developed collaboratively between Ocean First and Ocean First Education, TIDES combines engaging interdisciplinary science curricula, experiential learning, and confidence-building scuba training to unlock students’ natural curiosity and passion for rich, meaningful experiences.

This versatile program permits students to enter at any grade from 7th-12th and even the most ambitious will find themselves challenged throughout our four and six-year programs. Divided into three components, the program includes scuba training, classroom science, and fieldwork.

As part of TIDES, students receive real-life experiences in marine research and scientific diving. These place-based learning opportunities provide a window into the careers of marine scientists, technicians, and field researchers. Students will practice critical thinking and data analysis, which together introduce them to the process of asking questions, defining problems, and carrying out investigations into real-world settings.

Students’ passport to the underwater world begins with the Open Water Scuba Diver certification. This 35-hour course includes home study, classroom workshops, and pool and open water training. All classroom sessions can be done either at Ocean First’s award-winning facility in Boulder or onsite at the school campus. At Ocean First, all pool training is conducted in the comfort and safety of our 89°F indoor dive pool.

In the classroom, students begin by investigating the seven principles of Ocean Literacy. These fundamental concepts will provide the backbone to understanding how we are connected to the ocean and why it’s so important. Students will then learn about coral reefs and their amazing inhabitants and start to understand the many factors that affect their health. By the time they graduate from the TIDES program, students will have a developed and refined understanding of the marine environment and be well positioned to pursue a career in a number of related fields.

Each year, the program includes an optional custom-tailored expedition to the Florida Keys, Caribbean, or Latin America. In the first year, students will complete their open water dive requirements for their open water scuba certification. In years two through six, students advance their in-water scuba and snorkeling skills while also developing their scientific and field research skills. Travel location, schedule and costs will be determined in consultation with the partner school.


Contact us today for more information on how to bring this unique and exciting combination of scuba training, classroom-based science, and fieldwork to your school.