Module 6


Investigating Coastal and Marine
Environments through SOSE





Resource 1 A Guided Journey Resource 2

Guided Journey Discussion Guide

Resource 3 Catchment and Coastal Pollution
Resource 4 Pollution Events Resource 5 Newspaper Reports on Pollution Events Resource 6 Questions About the Pollution Events
Resource 7 The Process Strand in SOSE Resource 8 Evaluation Matrix Resource 9 Opportunities and Constraints
Resource 10 Enquiry Unit Planning        


Resource 6

Questions About the Pollution Events

Source: Fien, J. and Paden, M. (1997) The Australian Teacher's Guide to World Resources, Griffith University, Brisbane, Module 9.

Part I: Use the following table to analyse each of the events shown on the map in Resource 3.

Event Number Question 1
Area Affected?
Question 2
Effect on Environmental Quality?
Question 3
Degree of Impact?

Part II: Synthesising the Data

  1. How many different kinds of pollution are entering the sea?
  2. How many different sources of pollution can you identify?
  3. Which instances of water pollution are accidental?
  4. Which events might have the most effect (i) on the catchment, and (ii) on the coast and sea?
  5. Which upstream events affect downstream and coastal environments?
  6. How do upstream events affect downstream and coastal environments?
  7. What can be done to protect water quality at the wetlands? At the beach?

Resource 7

The Process Strand in SOSE

Source: Australian Education Council (1994) Studies of Society and Environment: A Curriculum Profile for Australian Schools, Curriculum Corporation, Carlton, Victoria, pp. 9, 11-12.

Investigation, Communication and Participation

In studies of society and environment, students investigate human relationships and the way humans interact with environments, constructed and natural, in different places and times. They learn that these investigations involve points of view and assumptions about human nature and environments, all created and modified by personal experience, and that these are always present in both the investigator and the investigated. Students learn the techniques of inquiry used in various disciplines to conduct reliable investigations. They come to understand, use and respect the skills of critical and creative thinking and of decision-making and problem-solving. These understandings and skills are applicable beyond the classroom.

Students come to use a variety of learning styles and choose from an expanding range of ways to think and act. As they learn more and think about what they have learnt, their perceptions are refined and reappraised through the use of the central ideas and methodologies of social science disciplines.

Students are encouraged to develop the attitudes and habits on which effective investigation, decision-making, problem-solving and participation depend. These include: independence of mind; willingness to suspend judgement and to tolerate uncertainty; fairmindedness and integrity; respect for differences and alternatives; habitual consideration of personal motivations, assumptions and points of view and an acceptance of their fallibility.

The values, attitudes, skills and knowledge described in this strand develop students' ability to plan and implement appropriate social action.


Students gradually build up the skills involved in research, processing data and in interpreting or applying findings. In the early years of school, planning an investigation includes reviewing and reflecting on what is known, identifying and describing the problem or focus of investigation, devising questions and considering various perspectives and value positions on the problem, issue or study.

This is a foundation for predicting possible solutions to the problem, constructing hypotheses, considering other approaches to inquiry, and designing suitable methods for gathering and organising information. Sources of information are assessed for their authenticity and credibility.

Since their investigations may be carried out in groups, students should be able to negotiate roles and responsibilities, clarify goals and resource needs, and identify time-management issues and organisational requirements.

In the early years, students gather and interpret data by listening and responding to stories, oral histories and accounts, and by using all the senses to observe. As they progress, they learn to compare and classify information and to interpret sources such as surveys, maps, charts, diagrams. They weigh information by distinguishing between fact and opinion, seeking corroboration, judging the credibility and relevance of information, and identifying the values, biases and points of view it contains.


Communication skills using spoken, written, graphic and statistical forms are essential in this learning area. Students become skilful in interpreting, using, producing and conveying messages. They learn about the workings of the media in modern societies and use a range of communication tools and genres typical of the learning area, understanding the power and potential of each.

Students learn to interpret and present ideas and information in forms particular to the field of study. Examples are artefacts, documents, models, tables, charts, maps and essays. They learn to use information technology and the media both as sources of information and means of communication. They also explore the value of literature and the visual and performing arts as a means of communicating ideas and understanding the viewpoints of others. Skills in speaking and writing about public or civic matters and the skills of democratic social action are also developed.


Students' approaches to investigation include participatory and collaborative efforts. They come to recognise that these approaches are necessary for effective learning and are vital in democratic decision-making. Students need to see the relevance of these skills to their own lives and futures and become confident participants in making decisions and solving problems in their groups. Students analyse their personal responsibilities, identifying their roles in collaborative work in school. They practise ways to identify and overcome problems and resolve conflicts.

Resource 8

Evaluation Matrix

SOSE Process Strand Four Enquiry Questions Five Step Process for Exploring Issues







Four Enquiry Questions

  1. Description: What and Where?
  2. Evaluation: How and Why?
  3. Reflection: What Effects?
  4. Action: What can be done?

Five Step Process for Exploring Issues

  1. Choose an issue
  2. Define a problem or issue
  3. Search for a solution
  4. Evaluate options
  5. Take action

Resource 9

Opportunities and Constraints

  1. In small groups brainstorm a list of opportunities and constraints for teaching enquiry based coastal and marine studies.

    Opportunities Constraints


  2. Now select for your group the three most important opportunities and constraints from your brainstormed list.

    Opportunities Constraints







Resource 10

Enquiry Unit Planning

Enquiry Question or Topic: __________________________
Enquiry Questions Activities Resources