Module 12


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Teaching Module in the Arts
- Sea Expressions



Workshop Outline

Materials Required

Further Reading  


The module focuses on the use of the arts to explore concepts and issues related to the marine environment. It demonstrates how the arts strands can be creatively utilised in marine studies.

The arts provide a powerful arena for self-expression and the introduction and consolidation of concepts and issues in marine education. Arts experiences can encourage children to use their cognitive, emotional and expressive abilities in their learning about the coastal and marine environments. The arts can also develop problem-solving skills that give children the confidence to deal with problems and issues related to the marine environment.

The module demonstrates how the arts need not be confined to its specialist areas in the school. Classroom and other faculty teachers should have the confidence to incorporate the arts into all aspects of marine education.

Why the Arts in Marine Education?

There is power in the way arts convey messages.

Consider how the arts signpost history. Visual images are particularly strong. A picture is surely worth a thousand words when considering the 15,000 year old paintings of wild horses on the cave wall in Lascaux, France, or the poster of a fuzzy white seal pup with big black eyes staring out from the red stained polar ice. Then with only a moment of reflection each person can bring to mind songs or music associated some special event. It might be from a first date, war defeat, or sporting victory but that music will always bring this memory to mind. Dance and drama follow suit with their own strong persuasive places in people’s hearts and minds.

How can educators compete with the bombardment of colour, music, dance and drama that are the daily media fodder of our students? Easy, the topic of the marine environment is exciting in its own right and we have an advantage in face to face interaction. Each of us has the ability to use the arts to our advantage.
A primary consideration of this module will be hands on participation. In the physical act of doing, the topic or subject becomes more personal to both the teacher looking for professional development and ultimately to the students. This personal attachment generates a sense of ownership.

What this module offers

1 The confidence for classroom teachers and other educators to incorporate the arts coastal and marine education.
2 Demonstration of how the arts need not be taught by only those who have specialist Arts qualifications.

Focus is placed on using arts to explore concepts and issues related to the marine environment. It shows how the arts strands and strand organisers can be creatively used in marine studies for:

• self-expression
• introduction and consolidation of concepts and issues
• awareness and appreciation of the coastal and marine environment
• communication about values related to the coastal and marine environment


The use of arts experiences in marine studies to encourage cognitive, emotional and expressive abilities through the development of:

• problem-solving skills
• confidence and self esteem


  1. To promote and understanding of the processes and skills required in arts education.
  2. To develop an understanding of the use of arts education in coastal and marine studies.
  3. To develop the ability to evaluate and use the arts learning strategies in the development of activities and units of work related to marine studies.

Workshop Outline

There are four activities in this workshop that incorporates the arts strands of visual art, dance, music, drama and media into coastal and marine studies. In the conclusion of the workshop, the arts strands and marine concepts and issues in activities 1 to 3 are combined in a final performance.

Nautical But Nice

The workshop begins with an icebreaker, Nautical but Nice. This activity has two parts. Initially it focuses on the extent to which we unconsciously include water in daily life through our use of language.
The second part identifies personal experiences and feelings about the sea. These feelings are then transferred to visual images in the form of a simple symbol or logo that represents the sea.

Activity 1 — Visual Art
Preservation and Human Impact

Participants view and discuss works that relate to the marine environment created by artists. This is followed by a mini lecture outlining the teaching of skills, techniques and processes of the visual arts as outlined in the national statement and its value in marine studies.
Participants are then engaged in creating a large piece of art that works as an installation in its own right and as a backdrop for a performance. The work is based on a celebration of the natural marine environment but is also a statement about the effects of human impact. The participants work in small groups to create sections of the artwork.

Activity 2 — Music and Dance
Sand Dunes and Rock Pools

This activity engages participants in the arts areas of music and dance. It is introduced by recycling a well known song with new words about coastal erosion.
Leaving the dunes behind participants will experiment with a variety of beach washed relia as musical instruments. They will be encouraged to discover musical cadences that can stand alone as reflections of the seashore.

As a precursor to a simple improvisation the participants will be introduced to the nature of a rock pool, some characteristic inhabitants, food webs, and movements.

The activity concludes with a discussion about other means whereby dance and music can be incorporated in marine studies.

Activity 3 - Drama
Getting The Message Across

This activity is introduced by a mini-lecture on puppetry and its use in teaching about concepts and issues related to the marine environment. Participants are then engaged in writing a short script for a puppet play on a marine issue such as rock pool destruction, erosion of sand dunes, pollution, shell collection, exotic infestation or endangerment of animals like the Little tern.

Activity 4 - Media
Letting Others Know

This activity outlines the national statement on media studies. Participants are asked to share ideas that they have used to implement media studies. Participants are then asked to brainstorm other ideas for the use of media studies in marine education.


Participants present the music, dance and puppet segments in a final performance.
Participants use flow charts to discuss the integration of other marines studies themes and the arts.
Review of objectives of the workshop: what worked and what needed work.
In closing participants may enjoy trying their seajelly composition and perhaps a walk down to the sea to return their natural sea washed instruments to the foreshore.

Materials Required

To be collected/organised ahead
Ask each participant to bring their own cup and spoon for the day
Photocopied set of resource notes for each participant

Activity 1

• Prints or slides of artwork related to the marine environment
• Large sheet of brown paper, calico or kite making material for mural
• Pastels
• Paint
• Textas
• Cardboard for puppets and mark making
• Various mark making materials - corks, sponges, bottle tops etc
• Coloured papers
• Fabric
• Corrugated cardboard
• Cellophane
• Tissue paper
• Foam off-cuts
• Plastic and cardboard cartons
  • Food dye for spray bottles
  • Wool
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Doweling (approx. 2cm diameter)
  • Tables & chairs (how many for set?)
  • Stockings and stuffing for them [teachers may need to recruit students to obtain these]
  • Sea Jelly materials:
  • 1 bowl, boiling water,
  • 1 large shallow plain white or cream coloured tray,
  • 2 packets of blue gelatine
  • pre-coloured par-cooked pasta shapes,
  • multi-coloured fruit sticks,
  • marshmallows,
  • seaweed rice crackers
  • licorice straps


Activity 2

Audio tape player

Tape of sea-sounds (homemade or commercial)

Things found on the beach that can make noise

driftwood, soil pipes, shells (in a noisy container), rocks, sand (in a plastic bottle), wave smoothed glass, aluminum cans sticks

recycled objects that might be found as waste on the beach (clean coke bottles, cans, ice cream containers etc)

Activity 3

Puppet making materials


Activity 4

Homemade or Commercial video tape

Materials Provided

Overhead Transparencies

  1A National Profile links - Visual Arts   1B Dance
  1C Music   1D Drama
  1E Media   2 Visual Arts excerpt
  3 Visual Arts Hints   4 Dune Song
  5 Music Hints   6 Rock Pool Food Web
  7 Seaweed, Algae, Sea Grass   8 Puppets Panic Sheet
  9 Media excerpt      




  Resource 1 National Curriculum Profile (Visual Arts, Music)
  Resource 2 National Curriculum Profile (Dance, Drama)
  Resource 3 Further Reading and References
  Resource 4 Practical Use of this Module with Children
  Resource 5 Sequence for Performance
  Resource 6 Integrating Arts into Coastal and Marine Education Themes