Activity Introduction

blue_ocean_cliff_1q4a1895_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students investigate Australia’s Marine Reserve system. They begin by identifying the benefits of marine reserves and then look at where Australia’s Marine Reserves are found and the different levels of protection these reserves offer. Student then participate in a role play activity that explores community values relating to the formation of a marine sanctuary. Finally, students discuss how marine reserve systems are crucial in protecting marine biodiversity for the future.

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 understand the role of people and science in the creation of Australia’s marine protected areas.
  • They recognise how marine protected areas help marine biodiversity now and in the future.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083)

Year 6 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)

Year 5 HASS

  • Examine different viewpoints on actions, events, issues and phenomena in the past and present (ACHASSI099)

Year 6 HASS

  • Examine different viewpoints on actions, events, issues and phenomena in the past and present (ACHASSI127)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-7PW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.3.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students discuss how scientific developments have affected people’s lives, help us solve problems and how science knowledge develops from many people’s contributions.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions and identify historical and cultural contributions.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS achievement standards: Students describe different views on how to respond to an issue or challenge.

Relevant parts of Year 6 HASS achievement standards: Students identify different perspectives in the past and present. 

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 – oversee activities and lead discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Community Profiles. WWF – Marine Protected Areas – Infographic. Map of Australia’s Marine Reserves.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, marine protected areas, reserves, sanctuaries, biodiversity, habitats, community, science.

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_ocean_untitled_1-676-1_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students understand the role of people and science in Australia’s marine protected areas and how this system helps to protect our marine biodiversity.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know how important the ocean is in supporting all life on Earth.
  • Know how science helps us solve problems.
  • Know how different people can contribute to scientific findings.
  • Know how change over time can be observed and can be used to help inform future decision making.
  • Be able to participate in a role play exercise.


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

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How do you use the ocean?

Part A. Why marine sanctuaries?

In your own words, describe the following terms:

Word Definition in your own words
Multi-use areas
No harm
Future generations

Now, team up with a partner to share your answers. You can make changes to your original definitions following your discussion.

Part B. Community viewpoint

When a marine sanctuary is created it involves scientists, special interest groups (such as fisher people, divers, boat user's) and the wider public. Ecosystem information (data) is collected by marine scientists and the community. The government looks at this information, defines the area, the level of protection, and may eventually approve the sanctuary. The process can take many years to complete, but once in places the marine sanctuaries are a positive solution to help protect our oceans for the future.

Read through the community pro

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