Activity Introduction

blue_coral-reef_lotr_0080_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students investigate ocean acidification, and its impacts on marine ecosystems and species. They begin by watching a clip and participating in a guided discussion around ocean acidification. Students then work in groups to conduct experiments designed to simulate ocean acidification and create scientific posters to share their results. They will then look at the difference between ocean acidification and coral bleaching. Finally, students are asked to work as a class to suggest actions we can all take to prevent further ocean acidification and coral bleaching events.

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 what ocean acidification is, how it is caused and the impacts it has on marine environments.
  • Students understand the difference between ocean acidification and coral bleaching.
  • Students understand how to follow instructions to complete a scientific experiment and are able to follow scientific conventions in reporting results.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 8 Science

  • Chemical change involves substances reacting to form new substances (ACSSU225)
  • Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS139)
  • Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (ACSIS140)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-16CW, SC4-4WS, SC4-5WS, SC4-6WS, SC4-9WS.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.7, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students compare physical and chemical changes. Students consider safety and ethics when planning investigations, including designing field or experimental methods. They identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled. They explain how modifications to methods could improve the quality of their data. They use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings in a range of text types.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Climate Change.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – Science – Year 7 & 8.

Time required: 120 mins +

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee experiments, lead students in discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. String, masking tape or chalk. Ocean Acidification Experiment – Option 1. Ocean Acidification Experiment – Option 2. Ocean Acidification Image. Poster making materials. Scientific Poster Assessment Rubric.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, coral bleaching, experiment.

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 understand some of the ways climate change is changing our oceans through ocean acidification and coral bleaching.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Be able to conduct an experiment.
  • Be able to analyse experiment results and communicate results to an audience.
  • Know what ocean acidification is and how it affects marine ecosystems.
  • Know what coral bleaching is and how it affects marine ecosystems.


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 inter

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How might ocean acidification affect you?


Before coming to class, watch the following video and respond to the prompts below:

Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye | National Geographic (

One thing presented in this clip that was surprising or interesting:
One thing I didn’t understand:
Any vocabulary that I want to know:
One thing that reminded me of something that I already know:

Understanding Ocean Acidification

Step 1. You will now watch a video about ocean acidification as a class and contribute to a guided discussion. Once the guided discussion is complete you can also answer the following questions in relation to the video:

1. How did this clip make you feel and why? 

2. What was most interesting or inspiring about this clip? 

3. What questions do you still have about this clip? 

Step 2. Now take a look at the following image. It explains the process of ocean acidification.



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