Ocean Culture - People and the Sea
Activity 2: Ocean Culture Activities
Our origins began in the sea, our culture is soaked by the sea, and perhaps we may yet return to live in the sea. What problems would we have to solve in order to do that? The following is an interesting teaser to get students thinking about the differences between terrestrial life and an underwater habitat.
This is a fascinating exercise and can be aimed at middle to upper primary as a craft project or at secondary as a SOSE/Science project about the marine environment.
First have the students build a list of the things that would affect our ability to live and work in under the sea. Some examples might be:
- Provision of breathable air
- Fresh water
- Food sources – aquaculture, hunting, hydroponics, production and distribution
- Pressure management
- Energy production, light and power
- Waste product disposal
- Weather:- tides and currents
- Predators or other natural dangers; security
- Emergency services
- Transport sea to surface and within the complex area.
- Communication from sea to surface
Develop a plan for an underwater city complex using the items that you've discussed and decided to include. This project can be done cooperatively with a whole class or individually.
Once the city is built have each student choose an individual who might be living in the city as a study subject. Have them write a creative essay or story about that individual and a map of what that person might experience during a 24hr slice of life.
The following are two examples of easy to produce classroom performances where the students can make their own costumes and props while the teacher leads the students through the story.
In the first example the classroom itself becomes a giant rockpool and the students use their imagination to decorate it with green, brown and red algae at the top, middle and bottom of the pool. A variety of other made or brought in objects can assist in decorating the tables and chairs over, around and underneath to indicate different habitat areas found in the rockpool – rock ledges or other nooks and crannies needed by rockpool life. Each habitat area and food web can be discussed as it is being created.
(For more information refer to the Arts and Marine Module on the MESA Coast and Marine Schools Project module.)
Assign the parts in groups of 3-5 individuals with the exception of the hermit crab and the octopus (the stars of the show). The parts are highlighted below
Not far from here there is a lovely little pool by the seashore. Each day the tide washes the dancing ocean waves in and out. Sometimes it is completely under the water. Sometimes it is a bowl of water and life sitting on top of the rocks
Inside the pool there are many living things. There is a garden of fresh green, brown and red seaweed that is food and shelter for many animals. There are stinging anemones clinging like flowers to the rocks. Under the rocks live the quiet delicate moss animals. Fish hide under the rocks and in the weed. They dart out now and again to catch a small shrimp or worm. Molluscs love the rockpools. There are the little sea snails. They climb on the rocks using their rough raspy tongues to graze on tiny plants that live on the rocks.
Once in awhile a little wave splashes in and gives a young hermit crab a fright!! He/she snaps his legs, eyes and nippers as far into his shell as he can possibly go. But he's got some trouble. He can't fit all of him inside his shell anymore. He makes a noise to express his frustration. He has a headache because his house is too tight.
In another corner of the rockpool a little octopus is having trouble too. Normally he/she would curl up under a rock with bits of shell covering as much of him as he could hold on to but now he can't find enough!
What's happened to all of the shells? He dances around the rockpool in a twirls of anger. As he does all the other animals scurry away to hide.
Just then the little hermit crab spots a shell and hurries over inspite of the danger. The octopus follows. All of the other animals come out of their hiding places to see what is going to happen next.
The hermit crab arrives there first. Oh no! It wasn't a shell at all – it was an old glove that washed down the stormwater drain. The hermit crab is desperate so he quickly tries on the glove. Oh no, that will never do.
All the animals stop and listen in ALARM! They hear the sound of voices…it is beach visitors and they are collecting shells. Everyone hides. OH NO! So that's why all the shells are gone – people are taking them away! (The people pass by)
Look they've accidentally dropped something! How lucky is that? It's a nice roomy shell. The hermit gives the octopus his old shell and the octopus slithers back to his special nook under a rock ledge.
The little hermit puts the new shell as quick as can be. His headache is gone. He wishes that people would leave more shells at the beach so he could find a new home more easily.
Scientists are an important part of our culture of the sea. The sea holds many secrets and scientists are keen to find out what they are and how we can use them.
The following story can be teamed up with arts and science studies for a fun enactment. Suggested constructions might be a boat for scientists to arrive in, scuba gear made from PET recyclable bottles, reef from an odd array of chairs in the centre of the room. Choose parts for groups of students to play as highlighted below. The feature creature is a sponge and this needs to be constructed either from foam or from filled stockings and tied all together in a large branched shape.
Scientists approach the reef in their research vessel.
The museum asked them to find out about a mystery object (big sponge)
Scientists wonder if it might have come from nearby and have come to the reef to take a look
They've observed that it has lots and lots of holes – many small but several are larger
Waves cause the vessel to roll and the captain and mate have to keep the boat steady
Scientists test the water for temperature. (thermometer)
They note the weather (notebook)
They dress in their diving tanks and jump in the water near the reef.
[They noticed sharks nearby but are not concerned because they have studied them and know what to watch for – these sharks will posture in a certain way if they are protecting their territory]
First they see some pretty flowers. They sting if you touch them. This is recorded.
Then they see interesting fish. Some are at the top of the reef. One can blow up like a balloon and has many quills on it. A few look like snakes – long and thin with sharp teeth. They hide their long thin bodies inside the reef cracks. Some fish are in dark caves underneath and some love gliding back and forth in schools. The fish are a bit shy of the strange looking creatures that have come to their home.
The scientists suddenly they see a strangely shaped object. They look closer. It has lots of holes. The little holes seem to suck water in and the big ones blow water back out again.
Is the mystery solved? They will take a sample back to the laboratory for further study and analysis.
This discovery may lead to a cure for a rare disease or the common cold.
The boat leaves
The fish and reef creatures return to normal.