Following are a selection of activities for schools to engage in exploring Jewels of the Sea and Celebrating Australia's Marine Biodiversity.
Activities are given for each of the Key Learning Areas. Activities can be adapted by teachers to suit local environments and meet a range of learning outcomes at different levels in the National Profiles.
Where is it is possible for students to directly experience the marine life of their state of region, students can actively engage in marine biodiversity exploration. A visit to the coast can be linked to all key learning areas.
Seek out advise on local opportunities from your state MESA branch, MCCN, or Coastcare. Many States have field study centres that conduct marine biodiversity programs.
When carrying out field work, either by yourself or with students, you should take appropriate safety procedures as outlined in most good marine life guides:
- Take care to read tide charts.
- Never turn your back on the sea.
- Be aware of potentially dangerous marine creatures and make sure that you are aware of the appropriate first aid treatment.
- Make sure that you have adequate protection from the sun and plenty of drinking water.
- Please treat all marine life with great care.
Create a biodiversity mural in your school that represents marine animals and plants from your state or region. After researching local marine biodiversity draw pictures or make prints of local marine life on paper, fabric, or use clay to create tiles. Assemble these to enhance an existing or new walkway, wall, or open space.
Enter your designs in the Seaweek'99 Jewels of the Sea - Marine Biodiversity Mural. School teachers who wish to obtain more information about the Seaweek'99 marine biodiversity arts project should contact Seaweek'99 Artist, Andrea Hicks, PO Box 381, Ferny Hills Delivery Centre, 4055.
Use marine animals as inspiration for performances that must be guessed in a game of charades.
Choose a very large (eg a whale) and a very small (eg krill) inhabitant of the ocean. Write a play or dance that shows how they are interdependent. Explain through the story their value for human survival.
Choose one of the Priceless Tips for Conserving our Marine Biodiversity (on previous page) and make a poster to illustrate how it will help.
Design a set of postage stamps about biodiversity in your local area. Make a display folder with information about each stamp.
Languages Other Than English
What are some aboriginal words to describe the marine animals and plants in your area? Are any place names in your area derived from Aboriginal words about the coast or sea?
Find out about words in a chosen language that describe different animals and plants in the sea. Are animals and plants different in the country of origin of the language? How do they compare in diversity?
Choose a very large and a very small inhabitant of the ocean. Write a song or poem to explain their value for human survival.
Can you find examples of local marine animals or plants to match each letter of the alphabet.
Collect new words about biodiversity from these notes and from other sources. Write a glossary with the meaning of each word. Here are a few to start with - diversity, biota, biotic, endemic, indigenous, phyla.
Collect newspaper articles about biodiversity issues. Put these together to create a newsletter. Report on the good and bad news. Highlight the impact of our actions on biodiversity.
Biota, bioregion, biome, biodegradable and biologist are all examples of bio words. Find as many as you can and write a word quiz.
Create a flow chart with all the benefits we gain from biodiversity. Decide on a statement about protecting biodiversity in your own area and have a debate discussing the benefits to people and the environment and the costs of this protection.
Draw up a chart or graph that compares the diversity of animal groups on land, in freshwater and in the sea. Compare diversity in different parts of the sea such as sandy beaches, coral reefs, rocky shores, kelp forests and represent these on a graph. Research and compare Australia's marine biodiversity with that of other countries.
What are the events for a marine animals Olympic games, venues, rules and contestants. Who will be the winners? Which Australian sea animal is the fastest, biggest, smallest, most legs, most amazing feats. etc.? How do human records in the water compare with different animals? - eg swimming speeds for humans, dolphins, seals, whales etc. Present records in different ways.
Hundreds of turtles die each year after being caught in fishing and prawning nets. To protect the turtles and minimise the by-catch, TEDs or turtle excluder devices are used in some countries. Design another device to help to reduce the impact of our fishing practices on marine life.
Consider the list of tools that are commonly used by humans and try to find similar examples from different animals or plants in the sea (eg crab pincers are like tongs). Tools - tongs, suckers, knife, file, glue, buoys. Try to think of some more.
Next: Marine biodiversity activities (cont)