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Teaching Ideas
“Exploring Sawfish” - Ideas for the Arts

Activities linked to year levels 2 - 8

Visual Arts

Identify features in the sawfish graphic, images and posters found on the MESA website for Seaweek 2008 and interpret them. Ask questions like:

• What title might be appropriate for this graphic?
• What catches the eye?
• What can you see in the background?
• What are the significant details?
• What type of seascape is it?
• What do you think is outside the photo frame?
• What might happen to this scene in the future? (5 - 8)

Organise a class display in the school or local community library on a theme of sawfish or threatened species. This display could consider threatened species, their habitats, and why they are threatened. The display could comprise drawings, photographs, and short stories that examine how students feel about these species, what the class is doing to help these species, and what other people can do. (4 - 8)

Visit a nearby beach or sandpit and encourage students to sculpt sand in the shape of a threatened species, marine animal, or plant. Ask students to express their feelings about the sand creation and the life form it represents. (4 - 7)

Make an alphabet poster series or booklet featuring paintings, linoprints about threatened marine species. (2 - 5)

Many schools, businesses, and homes have large “wheelie bins”. After obtaining council approval, make up a large stencil suitable for the sides or front of these bins with a design of a local or well-known threatened marine species. (4 - 7)

Create silhouettes of a range of threatened marine species. Draw the setting where they belong. Draw posters to show where the species depicted in the silhouettes would live in the scene and present the poster to the class, asking students which animal goes where. Display posters in a communal area for all to see. (4 - 7)

Make sock puppets or other puppet characters that represent a threatened marine species. Run a “News Bulletin” in which different puppets interview each other about life on the reef. (4 - 6)

Make badges with slogans about preserving and conserving specific marine plant and animal species. These slogans could describe things that could be done should be done to conserve species For example ‘Slow down: Save a Dugong’. (4 - 6)

Paint marine biodiversity murals for local bus shelters, stobie poles, or community buildings (obtain permission from your local authority before painting). (6 - 8)

Make a papier-mâché likeness of a threatened marine species. Exhibit it at school with a description of the animal and where it lives. (4 - 6)

Design a flag or banner featuring locally-threatened marine species. For example, design a flag with the words “September is Threatened Species Month” and fly it during that month. Find other banners or flags, and discuss the importance of simplicity and features which portray the information to ‘catch the eye.’ (5 - 7)

Dance and Drama

Dramatise and choreograph a performance for theatre, mime, puppet show, or dance, that highlights the plight of a threatened marine species. Present in a public forum, and interview audience members after the show to find out what they thought the important messages of the show were. (3 - 5)

Make body shapes and movements in response to selected marine animals and plants e.g. swaying sawfish. (2 - 4)


Create a piece of music using musical elements in response to stimuli such as a dance, story, poem, or picture about threatened marine plants and animals. (4 - 7)

Compose a musical sequence portraying the fascinating creatures of these environments. (5 - 7)

Compose lyrics for a threatened species song. Put them to music. (3 - 6)

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