Activity Introduction

blue_fish-net-catch_untitled_1-171-1-edit_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students will understand the importance of conserving our oceans by exploring the real world problem of by-catch and overfishing. They will mathematically investigate the problem and use data to plot graphs showing how by-catch is influencing the number of marine animals in our oceans. Students will then investigate ways in which the problem can be reduced and fishing practices can be changed.

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 intentions:

  • Students will be able to plot data on by-catch and investigate what might happen if fishing practices changed.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 8 Mathematics: 

  • Plot linear relationships on the Cartesian plane with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMNA193)
  • Solve linear equations using algebraic and graphical techniques. Verify solutions by substitution (ACMNA194)

Syllabus outcomes: MA4-1WM, MA4-3WM, MA4-11NA.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative ThinkingPersonal and Social CapabilityInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.6.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Mathematics achievement standards: Students represent transformations in the Cartesian plane. They interpret simple linear representations and model authentic information.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water, Sustainability.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – Mathematics – Year 7 – 10. 

Time required: 80 mins +

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Lead students in discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. Student access to laptops/desktop computers.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, by-catch, sustainable fishing, investigation, algebra, linear relationships

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_shark-and-turtle_slp_0062-copy-2_photoframeTeacher Preparation 

Learning intentions: Students will be able to plot data on by-catch and investigate what might happen if fishing practices changed.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Plot linear relationships using a table of values with real data
  • Use internet research to find relevant statistics
  • Understand the problem with by-catch and how it can be reduced 


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

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Have you ever wondered where the fish you eat comes from?

Part 1: Introduction - Unsustainable fishing 

Unsustainable fishing (

As you watch answer the questions below:

1. What is unsustainable fishing?

2. What statistics are used to describe the problem of unsustainable fishing?

3. List some of the impacts, both positive and negative, of factory fishing. Categorise your answers into social, economic and environmental impacts.

   Positive Impacts   Negative Impacts

Part 2: Understanding the Problem - By-catch Data Over Time


1. Fill in the table of values for each scenario below.

SCENARIO 1: Since 1990, 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals have been killed each year from by-catch.

Year Number Killed
1990 650,000
1995 650,000
2000 650,000
2030 650,000


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