Module 6


Investigating Coastal and Marine Environments Through SOSE






Activity 1


Activity 2 What is Enquiry Based Teaching? Activity 3

3. Overcoming Barriers to

Enquiry Based Teaching

Activity 4

Planning Enquiry Based Teaching

Activity 5 Conclusion    


1. Introduction

A. Introductions in pairs

  • A novel way of getting everyone introduced is to get someone else to do it. The first step in this activity is for participants to find a partner. If there are uneven numbers organise for one group of three. The participants are then given three minutes each to find out something unique or interesting about their partner related to their interests or experiences in coastal or marine environments.
  • Participants then introduce their partner to the whole group. If the group is very large it might be necessary to break into smaller groups of around ten people.
  • This activity will help you, as the facilitator, establish the participants' backgrounds and to introduce yourself to the group.

B. Workshop Overview

Introduce the workshop as 'Investigating Coastal and Marine Environments through Studies of Society and Environment'. Using a brainstorming technique, ask participants to identify what they expect from this workshop. Record responses on a board or chart (retain a copy of these expectations as an evaluation tool). Identify the objectives of the workshop and how this relates to the expectations participants listed for the workshop. A suggested workshop outline and objectives are detailed on OHT 1 and OHT 2.


C. Guided Journey

The guided journey activity asks participants to relax and take a tour of a variety settings where coastal and marine studies may be taught. This tour will form the basis for participants to discuss their understanding of what enquiry based teaching looks like. It is important to carefully prepare the participants to engage in the guided journey. As the facilitator you will need to gauge whether it would be best for the group to participate in the guided journey seated at a desk, lying on the beach or floor, etc. It is very important that participants feel comfortable. You will require a very quiet location. It might also be appropriate to play soft relaxation music as a background for this activity.

Depending on the situation, facilitators may find it useful to collect a set of slides or photographs of a variety of coastal and marine studies settings. This slide presentation could replace the guided journey text included as Resource 1.

  • Ask participants to find a comfortable location seated on a chair, lying on the floor, seated on the floor, etc.
  • Read the guided journey text (Resource 1) aloud to participants (or introduce the slide presentation).
  • After the guided journey (or slide presentation), divide participants into small groups to discuss the questions provided on Resource 2.
  • The participants re-form as a whole group to discuss the following:
  • What types of teaching and learning should be used for coastal and marine studies?
  • What examples of enquiry based teaching are in the guided journey?
  • How much preparation time is required to develop coastal and marine studies activities such as those described in the guided journey (or slides)?
  • How did participants feel about the guided journey technique? Could a guided journey be a useful teaching strategy in coastal and marine studies?

This activity will allow participants to focus on some of the key concepts to be developed in the workshop. This activity provides a focus for participants to consider what they think enquiry based teaching involves.

2. What is Enquiry Based Teaching?

This section consists of four activities. Activities A and B involve participants in a classroom activity (and debriefing) based on a catchment and coastal pollution issue. Activity C is a mini-lecture which outlines a number of approaches to enquiry based teaching for coastal and marine studies. Activity D asks participants to evaluate these models of teaching and learning against the process strand in the Studies of Society and Environment Key Learning Area.

A. Sample Activity: Catchment and Coastal Pollution

  • Indicate to participants that the best way to explore enquiry based teaching is to experience it.

  • Divide participants into groups of 4-5 people. Give each group:

    • a copy of the map in Resource 2

    • an envelope containing Resource 3 cut up into small slips. Each slip describes an event that has occurred in the catchment or coastal areas on the map in Resource 2

    • the newspaper reports in Resource 4

    • the questions in Resource 5

  • Ask participants in each group, in turn, to select one slip and to:

    • read it aloud to the group;

    • identify the corresponding location on the map in Resource 2;

    • identify the corresponding newspaper report in Resource 4; and

    • answer the questions in the table (Part 1) of Resource 5.

    Note to Facilitators: Group members could be allocated the roles of Group Cartographer (to be responsible for Resource 2), Group News Librarian (to be responsible for Resource 4), and Group Secretary (to be responsible for Resource 5).

  • When all the steps from the envelope have been analysed (as above), and the table in Part I of Resource 5 completed, ask each group to develop answers to the "Synthesizing the Data" questions in Part II.

  • Compare the groups' answers in a general discussion and seek to bring out the following generalizations:

    • The catchment of a river often drains into a large area of land and anything that happens there can drain into the sea.

    • Catchment and coastal pollution is a complex problem because there are so many different kinds and sources of pollution.

    • Because pollutants travel downstream to the coast or into inland drainage basins, it is impossible to keep coastal areas clean without dealing with catchment pollution.

B. Debriefing

Use the following questions as the basis for a debriefing following the activity. It will be important to point out that action was not developed in this activity due to time constraints.
  • How did you feel about the activity?
  • Would you describe the activity as enquiry learning? Why or why not?
  • What are the strengths of this approach to teaching and learning?
  • What are the weaknesses of this approach for teaching and learning?
  • Could a variation of this activity be used with students you teach?

C. Mini-Lecture

The purpose of this mini lecture is to provide participants with a theoretical background for inquiry based curricular appropriate for coastal and marine studies. A suggested sequence follows using OHT 3-8 and Reading 1. Reading 1 is for the workshop facilitator, but could be provided to the participants as a background or follow-up reading. Use the experiences of participants from the previous activity to highlight points and provide examples throughout the mini-lecture.

  • OHT 3 introduces the notion that enquiry learning strategies are considered 'best practice' in coastal and marine studies.

  • OHT 4 makes the point that environmental education is important because students need to be able to identify and undertake actions that address the solutions to coastal and marine questions, issues and problems.

  • OHT 5 outlines the five phases of enquiry learning identified by Noel Gough. This provides participants with background knowledge of an enquiry learning process for students.

  • OHT 6 outlines a suggested set of four enquiry questions to structure in the development of an enquiry based teaching unit.

  • OHT 7 is a Five Step Process for Exploring Issues. The Five Step Process for Exploring Issues is described fully in Reading 1. This provides another approach to the development of enquiry based teaching.

Do enquiry or issue based teaching strategies achieve the goals of coastal and marine studies? Use OHT 8 to remind the group of the objectives of coastal and marine studies from Module 1. Ask the group whether the "Four Enquiry Questions" on the "Five Step Process for Exploring Issues" could achieve the objectives of coastal and marine studies. It would be useful for participants to have copies of OHT 6-8 for this discussion.

D. The Process Strand of Studies of Society and Environment

This activity relates to equiry learning to the process strand of the Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) Key Learning Area

  • Display OHT 9 which identifies the three process objectives of Investigation, Communication and Participation. Use Resource 7 as a basis for explaining the dimensions and significance of these three process objectives to learning in SOSE.

  • Explain that the models of enquiry outlined in the previous section correspond with these three process objectives in SOSE. Distribute a copy of Resource 8 to each group and ask them to match the steps in the "Four Enquiry Questions" and "Five Step Process for Exploring Issues" approaches to the three SOSE process objectives.

3. Overcoming Barriers to Enquiry Based Teaching

When considering enquiry based teaching it is important to consider both the opportunities and constraints teachers can encounter. These will differ for each individual teacher due to a variety of factors including personal concerns, lack of support structures, and issues related to lack of time, equipment and space within the curriculum. This activity needs to be general to suit the needs of specific situations. The facilitator will need to use their understanding of the context of teaching during this discussion.

  • In small groups participants brainstorm a list of the opportunities and constraints they see for the development of enquiry based coastal and marine studies. Participants can base this discussion on their experiences of enquiry learning from the catchment and pollution activity and other examples given during the workshop. Resource 9 can be used for recording. Ask each group to nominate its top three opportunities and constraints and record these on individual sheets of chart paper.

  • Reassemble as a group. Each group should report back with its top three opportunities and constraints. Use tape to attach these to a wall or whiteboard. Ask the group to consider whether these opportunities can be categorised in any way. For example, are there common constraints related to school structures such as timetables? Are there issues related to resources etc.?

  • Each group should then develop a chart of ideas, on ways to overcome barriers to the development of enquiry based teaching. Participants may be able to make suggestions from their experiences within schools.

4. Planning Enquiry Based Teaching

In small groups participants consider the development of an appropriate enquiry based unit. Participants may decide to form groups based on year levels taught or topic areas of interest. Resource 10 uses the "Four Enquiry Questions" model as a general outline to guide group planning (it is suggested that Resource 10 be enlarged onto an A3 sheet). Alternative general outline sheets can be developed by the facilitator or participants. Depending on the time available, each group may report back on its planning.

5. Conclusion

To conclude the workshop, you may wish to use the following points:

  • Review the approaches to enquiry based learning suggested in this workshop (OHT 5 and OHT 6).

  • Reflect on the need for these approaches to achieve the goals of coastal and marine studies (OHT 8) and the process strand of SOSE (OHT 9).

  • Highlight the need for teachers to consider the opportunities and constraints they face in their teaching so students can develop skills such as decision making, facilitation skills, critical thinking and conflict resolution. Teachers should be encouraged to develop ways of overcoming constraints.

  • Enquiry based learning is a teaching strategy that allows students to develop a variety of skills for participating in the solutions for environmental problems.

  • Take the opportunity to reflect on the workshop expectations participants identified in the introduction and discuss whether these expectations have been met. Use OHT 1 and 2 as prompts to seek comments on the strengths and areas for improvement related to the workshop structure, aims and teaching strategies. These reflection could form the basis for the revision of this workshop for the future.