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Seaweek 2011: Spotlight on Marine Science

Marine Science Matters! - a unit for primary schools



Sample Unit Sequence and Activity Ideas    

TUNING IN: Sample activities

Class Discussion

Ask students what they know about the marine environment. Ask students how we know about: some of the organisms that live in the ocean; what causes Tsunamis and how we can predict them; effects of marine pollution such as oil spills on marine environments; what lives in the deepest parts of the oceans; what kills sharks apart from humans; how new islands form; and the consequences of human driven climate change on sea water.

Ask students what they know about marine scientists and what kind of work they think they do. List all ideas on a chart or whiteboard. Invite students to talk about their experiences with ocean environments. Has anyone ever seen a real sea horse in the ocean? Ask students how they feel about a reported increase in the numbers of sea horses in Sydney Harbour. Water quality in the harbour is improving as a result of new pollution control measures which are good for sea horses (they are sensitive to pollutants and cannot survive in poor quality water). Encourage students to think, reflect and share ideas with others.

It is important to focus on the positives and not over-dwell on the negatives of human impact on the oceans. This helps children view marine issues as problems we can do something about rather than give up in despair.


Ask students to respond to ‘What if’ statements. e.g. What if...
 We developed technologies to prevent storm water run-off dumping rubbish and sediments into the ocean?
 • everybody caught as many fish as they wanted regardless of type or size?
 Fishing was banned in all Australian waters for a period of 3 years?
 • You could see turtles, dolphins and seahorses when you went snorkelling because their populations had increased in numbers?
 Every harmless Grey Nurse shark was killed off because they look fierce?


View the internet link to the video of Sammy the Sea Turtle. Students are to write down keywords, thoughts or feelings about the pictures that have been viewed. Following the viewing, promote discussion about the pros and cons of rescuing Sammy. Have students write and illustrate a narrative from Sammy’s perspective. Encourage them to take one side of the story – was it good for Sammy to be rescued and made better? Or – was it bad for him to endure capture, transportation and handling by humans?

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Mind Map

Ask the students to brainstorm all of the things they think marine scientists might do in their work. Encourage students to think about all aspects of their work including: planning, field work, laboratory work, applying for grants, reporting on their findings to the scientific community and the general public, travel to research sites, living conditions during fieldwork, communicating with other scientists, supervising students, etc.

A - Z

Use resource 1 A-Z of marine science for this activity. Ask the students to suggest definitions, write a sentence, list words or draw pictures that come to mind when they hear or see these words. Use these topics as a basis to begin a class glossary.

Create a KWFL chart based on climate change. Use student’s ideas to inform class questions, ideas, statements and ways to find out chart.

Learning Log

Students begin a learning log by writing down questions and reflections about what they already know, what they would like to know and interesting facts or information.

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