Module 3


Cross-Curriculum Planning
for K-7 Coastal and Marine Studies




Activity 1 Introductions Activity 2 Coastal and Marine Themes
Across the Curriculum
Activity 3 Integrating through the Content of Subject Areas
Activity 4 Integrating Through Learning Skills and Processes Activity 5 Integrating into Key Learning Areas Activity 6 Conclusion


1. Introduction

This icebreaker, called 'Wally the Whale', provides an enjoyable way for participants to get to know one another and starts them thinking about the coastal and marine environment. The module has been designed for primary school teachers and illustrates an icebreaker they could use with their own students.

  • Stand all participants in a circle. As the facilitator, introduce yourself using your first name and a word relating to the coastal and marine environment which begins with the same letter as your first name, e.g. 'Hello, I'm Susan the Sea-lion'. A list of possibilities is included in Resource 1.

    Note to facilitators: If participants are already known to each other you may like to replace this activity with another that introduces the theme of the workshop. Other introductory activities in this manual can be adapted for this.

  • Go around the circle asking participants to introduce themselves in the same manner. The alliteration employed is an effective aid to memory. Participants could also be asked to provide some background information about themselves, such as where they teach, why they are at the workshop, etc.

  • An optional addition to this exercise is to ask each participant to name all the previous participants and their alliterative titles before they give their own name.

  • Conclude this activity by giving an overview of the workshop activities (OHT 1) and objectives (OHT 2).


2. Coastal and Marine Themes Across the Curriculum

This mini-lecture introduces participants to the cross-curricular nature of coastal and marine studies. The mini-lecture should be developed from OHT 3 and OHT 4 and the notes below. The mini-lecture should give an overview of the cross-curricular nature of coastal and marine studies. Follow the mini-lecture with the two groupwork activities that develop a more detailed understanding of 'content integration' and 'process integration'.

  • Begin by reminding participants that coastal and marine studies should not be seen as a separate subject in the curriculum. Coastal and marine themes can be used in many, if not all, curriculum areas.

  • Make the point that coastal and marine themes should be linked to terrestrial themes as often as possible. Human activities in all environments impact on coastal and marine environments.

  • Display OHT 3 which is a quotation from Agenda 21. It notes the importance and validity of a cross-curriculum approach when dealing with environmental issues.

  • Remind participants that one of the most common concerns teachers have is curriculum 'overload'. Teachers often feel pressured by the requirement to cover the core content of key subjects (e.g. English, mathematics and science). When special school activities and class management issues are added to an already busy routine many teachers could be tempted to feel that, as important as coastal and marine studies are, it is just one thing too many to squeeze in.

  • Explain that the purpose of this part of the workshop is to provide ideas to help teachers overcome these concerns by understanding two key principles:

    • Coastal and marine studies can become part of the curriculum without 'stealing time' from other subjects because it can easily be integrated into the educational objectives of all subjects.

    • A coastal and marine theme approach to teaching can help students develop core skills for learning in all Key Learning Areas.

  • Display OHT 4 which outlines the difference between 'content integration' and 'process integration'. These two concepts reflect the two key ways of infusing coastal and marine themes across the total school curriculum.

  • Explain that the following activities develop a detailed understanding of 'content integration' and 'process integration'.

3. Integrating through the Content of Subject Areas

  • Ask participants to make individual written lists of the subjects or Key Learning Areas in the curriculum (e.g. Science, Art, Studies of Society and Environment, etc.) in which they believe they could teach coastal and marine themes.

  • Ask participants to share their lists with the whole group and complete the first column of subjects on OHT 5.

  • Ask participants to identify the three subject areas they least expected to see on the list - and suggest why.

  • Ask participants to work in groups of 3-4 to identify a specific learning experience that could be infused into each of the subject areas listed on OHT 5. An OHT copy of OHT 5 could be given to each group for this.

    Note: Workshop facilitators might consider allocating a small number of different subjects areas per group if there are time limitations on the workshop.


  • Ask the groups to report back to the whole group with a brief outline of the learning experiences they identified. Debriefing this activity could prove time-consuming if every group reports its ideas for every subject area. To save time, groups could be asked to report on one subject area each. Alternatively, groups could be asked to provide ideas to the workshop facilitator for a comprehensive whole group report to be compiled and distributed at the end of the workshop.

  • Some questions that might be asked in the debriefing include:

    • How easily can coastal and marine themes be infused into all subjects or KLAs?

    • Can coastal and marine themes be infused into all aspects of a subject area? How?

    • Did you identify any areas where it would be difficult to introduce coastal and marine themes? Why?

    • Were terrestrial themes linked to the coastal and marine themes? Why is this important?

  • Distribute a copy of Resource 2 that gives an example of integrating the topic of 'Coastal and Marine Reserves' into the eight Key Learning Areas in Australia. Allow 5-10 minutes for discussion of the example.

  • As a follow up or application exercise, distribute an A3 enlarged copy of Resource 3, which is a blank version of Resource 2. Allocate each group one of the following coastal and marine themes (or ask groups to select their own theme) and ask them to complete a diagram showing how this topic could be taught through the eight

    Key Learning Areas:

    • Fishing
    • Beach erosion and protection
    • Living on the coast
    • The Great Barrier Reef
    • Endangered marine species
    • Managing wetlands
    • The ocean: Our ultimate sink!
    • Coastal and marine tourism

Note to facilitators: Remind participants to try to write their examples as active learning experiences (as in Resource 2) not just as content topics.

4. Integrating Through Learning Skills and Processes

In this activity participants are introduced to a second strategy for infusing coastal and marine studies across the curriculum. This activity shows participants that coastal and marine themes can be used to develop attitudes and skills that meet the generic process objectives of the curriculum.

  • Distribute Resource 4 which lists some process objectives which teachers of any subject area can use when addressing coastal and marine themes.

  • Ask the whole group to identify any of the objectives that are specific to coastal and marine studies. (There should not be any as Resource 4 lists only generic or cross-curricula skills and attitude objectives.)

  • Ask participants to continue working in their groups from the previous activity and to re-examine their completed copies of Resource 3 in relation to the process objectives on Resource 4. Ask each group to identify the particular skill or attitudinal objectives (on Resource 4) they were seeking to develop in the eight learning experiences they suggested on their completed versions on Resource 3.

  • End this activity by displaying OHT 6 which lists examples of some of the many skills and attitudes that coastal and marine studies can help students develop. Many similar examples should have arisen in this activity.

5. Integrating into Key Learning Areas

This group activity provides participants with an opportunity to apply ideas from Activities 3 and 4 in order to identify ways in which they can infuse marine and coastal themes into Key Learning Areas (KLAs). This activity also helps participants to develop skills that they can use to integrate coastal and marine themes into their particular State or Territory syllabi.

  • Introduce this activity by showing OHT 7. Explain that there are eight Key Learning Areas (KLAs) and that each is divided into several strands and strand organisers; within each strand, eight achievement levels have been developed and illustrated with 'pointers' (refer to examples of 'pointers' in Levels 1 and 2 of Resource 5A).

  • Divide participants into groups of 3-4. Explain that each group will be allocated one KLA and one of its strands that are relevant to coastal and marine studies. These are provided in Resource 5A-F which should be enlarged onto A3 to enable participants to write on them more easily.

  • Ask each group to identify examples of ways in which marine and coastal studies themes could be integrated into their allocated KLA strand. Groups should be asked to think of topics and activities they could use to incorporate - as and where appropriate - marine and coastal issues as 'pointers' into each level and strand organiser and list them on their A3 sheet. Explain that coastal and marine 'pointers' for levels 1 and 2 have been provided as examples.

Note to facilitators: If participants are all K-7 teachers they probably only need to look at the first five levels. If they are secondary teachers they should look at levels 5-8. To provide more relevant examples, facilitators could provide photocopies of their own State/Territory curriculum documents instead of the national KLA examples provided in this module.

  • Groups present their A3 posters to the whole group for discussion, perhaps pinned on the wall as a display.

  • Provide participants with a copy of Resource 6 which is a completed sample set of KLA and strand opportunities for coastal and marine studies in Resource 5. Explain that this is an example of how teachers might begin the process of identifying opportunities for integrating coastal and marine themes into KLAs.

6. Conclusion

The purpose of this activity is to give participants an opportunity to review the major concepts and skills developed in the workshop and to identify key actions that they would like to take in their teaching situation, now or in the future, to help them adopt a cross-curricular approach to coastal and marine studies.

  • Ask participants to work either individually or in groups of teachers, if they are from the same school, to complete a copy of Resource 7. This will enable them to identify actions that need to be taken to begin the process of working co-operatively with other teachers in their schools and other members of the school community to plan an across-the-curriculum approach to coastal and marine studies.

  • Conclude by asking individuals/groups to share their plans.