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Our Great Barrier Reef
Junior Primary Years 1- 3

Finding Out: Sample activities

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

Book a live visit via videoconference to the Great Barrier Reef with the Great Barrier Reef Education Team.  

For www support – email: education@reefHQ.org.au

Prior to visiting the Great Barrier Reef ‘virtually’, read picture books about the reef, view photos or suitable videos.

Students mime activities undertaken on the Great Barrier Reef

Photograph these or ask students to draw them. Place photographs/drawings on to a painted mural of the Great Barrier Reef.


Turn your classroom into the Great Barrier Reef.

Establish students’ prior knowledge by asking questions such as:

Observing, Collecting, Recording

Whilst visiting the Great Barrier Reef virtually via videoconference or viewing a video, undertake the following activities:

Cage buoys of the pearl shell culture
farm at Cape York

They can also observe, collect and record a range of things. For example:

With the help of adults, students identify human-made and natural features within the Great Barrier Reef, or make a set of cards and play “Spot the Reef features”. Using a number of cards with Great Barrier Reef features on them, ask students to say which are human-made or natural features and why, and which features are resources we need and want.

See Resource 1.2

n a Public Aquarium, Marine Discovery Centre or videoconference inclusive of the Great Barrier Reef, students can do the following:

  • Observe, touch specimens, and feel reef corals (Note you will only be able to touch specimens of hard coral);
  • Locate and describe soft and hard corals, their tentacles and polyps;
  • Locate and identify big fish eg. groupers, trevally, and wrasse;
  • Locate and identify sea turtles, sharks and rays;
  • Locate brightly coloured reef fish;
  • Locate reef animals with “shells”;
  • Locate and describe jellyfish and sponges;
  • Locate information, signs, cultural heritage sites; and
  • Locate and identify Great Barrier Reef flora for example seagrass.


Photograph structures and features for later identification. Tape sounds for classification.

Collect illustrations, pamphlets or fact sheets about features and uses of the Great Barrier Reef.

Anemonefish swimming amongst Sea
anemones in a Great Barrier Reef
Aquarium display tank

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is home to:

  • 2904 coral reefs built from359 species of hard coral;
  • Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles;
  • Over 2200 species of native plants;
  • Over 1500 species of fish; and
  • Over 200 species of birds.

Recording: Construct a checklist or use Resource 1.3 for students to count and record the number of certain features and uses.

Note: If this “visit” or video isn’t possible, download the photofile at www.gbrmpa.gov.au for images to support this activity.

See Resource 1.3

Ask students to decide what purpose each feature or use serves.


File the checklist of words and symbols as evidence of students’ skill in applying the concepts “natural” and “human-made”.

Next - Sorting Out: Sample activities   

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Key Understandings
Focus Questions
Key Terms
Learning Areas
Key Competencies /
Planning Considerations
Tuning In:
Sample activities
Preparing to find out:
Sample activities
Finding Out:
Sample activities
Sorting Out:
Sample activities
Going Further:
Sample activities
Making Connections:
Sample Activities
Taking Action:
Sample Activities
Sample Activities
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