Activity Introduction

blue_jennifer_looking_at_bird_1-537-1_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this lesson students explore the global migration journey of the Flesh-footed Shearwater. Students begin the lesson by looking at the physical features of shearwaters and, in particular, the features that allow them to navigate the open ocean and return home again. They then take part in an interactive role play following the migration route of the shearwater. Finally, students consider how humans impact the oceans through plastic pollution and consider ways to share their own ‘STOP the DROP’ litter message with the school or local community.

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 recognise the physical features of a shearwater.
  • Students will understand how and why shearwaters take long migration journeys.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film: Inquiry – Years 5 & 6.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in role-play activity and discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Large world map. Four fabric pieces (different colours) to represent the countries of Australia, New Guinea, Japan and Russia. Shearwater Migration – Countries and Oceans. Flesh-footed Shearwater Picture. Shearwater Chick Picture. Shearwater Migration Journey – Script. Art materials or camera.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, Flesh-footed Shearwater, migration, plastic, oceans.

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_young_bird_in_hands_untitled_1-534-3_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students understand physical features and the migration journey of a Flesh-footed Shearwater.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • ...know one to three biological features of a shearwater that help it on its migration journey.
  • ..know how shearwaters navigate the oceans.
  • ...know how plastics are harming shearwaters.
  • ...know how to help shearwaters.
  • able to participate in a role play activity.
  • able to contribute to class and group discussions.


Teacher content information: From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space. 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

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Shearwaters are also known as mutton birds.


Work independently to answer the questions and add your thoughts to Column A of the table below. Once complete, turn to a classmate to share and discuss your answers. You can then make additional notes in Column B.

Question Column A Column B
How might shearwaters learn about the ocean migration journey before they leave the burrow?
What environmental features might they use?


Work independently to complete the following table:

Why do you think shearwaters have long strong wings? 1.
How might a shearwater's beak help it survive? 1.
How do the feet of a shearwater help it survive? 2.
What other features of a shearwater help it in its daily life or on its migration? 2.
What was the most interesting thing you found out about shearwaters from this lesson and why?
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