Activity Introduction

blue_shark-madison-underwater_untitled_i-78-11_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students explore the role of sharks in the ocean and consider why sharks are important for the health of our oceans ocean. They begin by conducting prior knowledge interviews with each other to share what they already know, and think, about sharks. They are then asked to participate in a class-wide reading exercise to learn more about sharks and how people use them. They then investigate the reasons why sharks are under threat, and work to create an ‘action shark’ to share ideas on how we can help sharks. 

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 understand the role that sharks play in our oceans.
  • Students recognise that sharks are under threat from human behaviour and identify actions we can take to help sharks.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)

Year 4 Science

  • Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
  • Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)

Year 3 English

  • Draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others (ACELT1596)
  • Read an increasing range of different types of texts by combining contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge, using text processing strategies, for example monitoring, predicting, confirming, rereading, reading on and self-correcting (ACELY1679)

Year 4 English

  • Discuss literary experiences with others, sharing responses and expressing a point of view (ACELT1603)
  • Read different types of texts by combining contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge using text processing strategies for example monitoring meaning, cross checking and reviewing (ACELY1691)

Syllabus outcomes: ST2-10LW, ST2-11LW, EN2-11D, EN2-4A.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Science achievement standards: Students group living things based on observable features and describe how they can use science investigations to respond to questions.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: Students describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal. They identify when science is used to understand the effect of their actions.

Relevant parts of Year 3 English achievement standards: Students read texts that contain varied sentence structures, a range of punctuation conventions, and images that provide extra information.

Relevant parts of Year 4 English achievement standards: Students fluently read texts that include varied sentence structures, unfamiliar vocabulary including multisyllabic words. 

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film: Inquiry – Years 3 & 4.

Time required: 80 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and lead discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Sharks At The End Of The Line (pages 6-9 either printed or projected for students to read). Art materials.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, sharks, oceans, fishing, fins, Madison Stewart.

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 intention: Students understand the role of sharks in our oceans and why they need protecting.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know what an apex predator is.
  • Know the names of two or more shark species.
  • Know how fishing is impacting on sharks in the world.
  • Know why shark finning is an unsustainable fishing practice.
  • Be able to create a visual art piece to share their ideas.
  • Be able to present their artwork to the class.


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 being irretrievably altered.

By intern

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Student Worksheet

blue_shark-and-turtle_slp_0062-copy-2_photoframeThought starter: Have you ever swum with a shark?

Shark interview questions - Before

Use these questions to interview a classmate about sharks. Write their answers next to each question:

Name of the person I am interviewing:

What do you already know about sharks?

Do you like sharks?

What do sharks do in the ocean?

Are sharks good for the ocean?

How harmful are sharks to humans?

Have you ever eaten shark?

Shark interview questions - After

What is the most interesting or important thing you learnt about sharks?

How has your thinking about sharks changed since our first interview?

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