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Seaweek 2011: Spotlight on Marine Science

Marine Science Matters! - a unit for primary schools




Key Understandings

  • There are different types of marine environments and a huge diversity of marine organisms.
  • Changes are occurring to our ocean as a result of global warming and ocean acidification.
  • There are causes, effects and consequences of human impacts on the marine environment.
  • Individuals, communities and Local Governments have a responsibility in making informed decisions for the sustainable management of marine environments, the results of the research conducted by marine scientists provides evidence to support decision making.
  • Information about the findings from scientific research is communicated in numerous ways.
  • There are differing views concerning some marine science issues and scientific knowledge changes as new evidence becomes available.Marine matters are local, national and global issues.
  • What humans do on land affects marine organisms and environments a long way from the coast..

Focus Questions

  • What is a marine scientist and what kind of work do they do?
  • What would it be like to be a marine scientist? How could your work make a difference to the world?
  • What more can we learn about marine organisms and environments? Are there really lots more things than we already know? What is needed for us to be able to solve unanswered questions about the oceans?
  • How does the ocean affect you? How does the health of the ocean affect different groups of people?
  • How can we reduce human impact on the ocean both directly and indirectly?
  • What can we do and why is it important to get involved in protecting our marine zones?
  • Why is it important to keep finding out more about the ocean, it’s environments, the organisms that live there and the ways modern human lifestyles impact on it?

Key Literacy Terms

acidification, algae, alternatives, anemone, animals, atmosphere , behaviour, birds, biodiversity, care, cetaceans, citizens, clean, climate, crabs, crustaceans, conserve, conservation, consumers, cultural values, ecosystem, echinoderms, endangered, environment, environmental values, equipment, ethics, facilities, features, fields, fishers, food, government, human-made, impacts, Indigenous peoples, intertidal, invertebrates, investigate, leisure, local, marine, nature, non-lethal, nudibranch, ocean, oceanographer, organisms, particles, permits, pollution, protect, rare, research, resource, rips, safety, sea, seagrass, scientist, signs, sources, species, sustainable, technology, threatened, tourism, tsunamis, volutes, water, weather, work.

Key Learning Areas

  • Science;
  • Mathematics;
  • English;
  • History;
  • The Arts; Society and Environment; Health and Physical Education


The unit focuses on the content strand Science as a Human Endeavour from the National Syllabus, (ACARA). Outcomes for other Key Learning Areas can be added to meet local school program requirements:

Nature and development of science

  • Science is about exploring and investigating our world using our senses
  • Science helps people to explain how things work and why some things happen
  • Science helps us to understand our world and solve problems, and can be used to make prediction
  • Scientific knowledge changes as new evidence becomes available
  • Advances in scientific knowledge and practice help us to explain events and phenomena

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Applications and influence of science

  • People use science in their daily lives
  • Scientists’ work has resulted in discoveries and inventions are used every day and people use science and technology to make decisions about the way they live
  • Advancements in science and technology change the way people live, work and communicate

Science and society

  • People in the community use science to help each other
  • People in the community make use of scientific knowledge and skills in a variety of ways
  • The needs of society influence the work of scientists, technologists and others and people make decisions about how science and technology are used
  • Our understanding of the natural world has been influenced by people from many different cultures
  • People work in many different fields of science and Australian scientists have made significant contributions to many areas of life

Key Competencies

  • Collecting, analysing and organising information;
  • Communicating ideas and information;
  • Planning and organising activities;
  • Working with others in teams;
  • Using mathematical ideas and techniques;
  • Using scientific thinking and techniques;
  • Solving problems; and
  • Using technology.

Planning Considerations

  • What resources do you have available to assist in teaching this unit?
  • Is your school in easy travelling distance to a coastal marine environment?
  • Is there a Marine Discovery Centre, Aquarium or other marine education facility in your area?
  • Do you have access to the Internet and digital technologies such as cameras, video cameras, interactive whiteboard, video conferencing equipment?
  • Is there a local university with a Marine science section who you may be able to contact?
  • Do you have a personal interest in the marine environment or know others that do?

Some tips to help the unit run smoothly:

  • Read through the unit thoroughly and highlight activities you think are most relevant to your students;
  • Consider which of the key learning outcomes from the National Curriculum are most likely to “come out” of the unit;
  • Gather together key resources used in the unit, eg. photographs, picture books, resource sheets etc. (see resources page);
  • You may wish to write to parents informing them of the topic, sharing the understandings for the unit and inviting any assistance and resources; and
  • Organise a learning log for each student

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