Activity Introduction

blue_coral-reef_lotr_0080_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students explore their own solutions for addressing coral reef damage using a design thinking model, working through the ’empathise’ and ‘define’ stages of the design thinking model to identify innovative solutions. They begin exploring the issue of coral reef health, and then use a challenge map to define the problem and brainstorm solutions.

blue-white-logo-120pxBlue is a feature documentary film charting the drastic decline in the health of our oceans. With more than half of all marine life lost and the expansion of the industrialization of the seas, the film sets out the challenges we are facing and the opportunities for positive change. Blue changes the way we think about our liquid world and inspires the audience to action. Find out how to screen or download the film here. Along with the film is an ambitious global campaign to create advocacy and behaviour change through the #oceanguardian movement. To become an ocean guardian, see the website.

Learning intention:

  • Students will explore how to frame a problem and think creatively to design innovative solutions to address ecological issues.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 10 Science

  • Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE230)
  • Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS198)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-11PW, SC5-4WS, SC5-9WS.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students develop questions and hypotheses, and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – Science – Year 9 & 10.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. One copy of the Coral Reefs Factsheet for each student. 

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, coral reefs, design thinking.

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

© 2017 Northern Pictures and Cool Australia


Teacher Worksheet

blue_coral-bleaching-lucas_untitled_1-629-2_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students will investigate how to frame a problem and think creatively to design innovative solutions in response to ecological issues.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Be able to think creatively.
  • Be able to frame a problem.
  • Know that innovative solutions can be developed to address ecological issues.


Teacher content information: From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of the universe. No matter where you live on our blue planet – you’re connected to the sea.

But the seas are under threat. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered.

By international standards, Australia is a marine conservation leader. It has the world’s largest coral reef, the best

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “Given one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution” - Albert Einstein.

Understanding the issue - coral reefs

Watch the following clip and record any information you think is important or interesting below. 

How the ocean is changing (

Read the following factsheet and work independently to answer the questions below:

 Coral Reefs Factsheet

1. What are coral reefs?

2. Why are coral reefs important?

3. Who would be affected by the disappearance of coral reefs?

4. What are the main issues coral reefs are facing?

5. List three things you read in this factsheet that you didn't already know or that you found interesting.




6. Was there any vocabulary in this factsheet that you weren't clear about? List these words.

7. What questions did this factsheet leave you with? What don't you understand?



Work independently to consider the topic you l

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