Activity Introduction

blue_coral-bleaching_untitled_1-627_photoframe-1Quick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students investigate the causes of ocean warming and ocean acidification and analyse their impact on coral reefs. They begin by watching and responding to a clip about how the ocean is changing, and discuss the details of some of these changes. Using the jigsaw classroom method, students then work in groups to undertake research into ocean acidification and coral reefs, and will then work in different groups to make a scientific poster describing how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects the coral reefs. Finally, students are asked to watch another clip and to reflect on how their impressions of this clip are influenced by the scientific knowledge they acquired throughout this lesson.

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 will describe how the products of combustion reactions enter the ocean and affect its chemistry.
  • Students will understand how these changes impact the marine ecosystem.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 Science

  • Chemical reactions, including combustion and the reactions of acids, are important in both non-living and living systems and involve energy transfer (ACSSU179)
  • People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE160)
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-16CW, SC5-13ES, SC5-7WS.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students describe examples of important chemical reactions and describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments  and. They use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – Science – Year 9 & 10.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. One copy per student of the Scientific Poster Assessment Rubric.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, ocean acidification, ocean warming, coral bleaching, marine ecosystems.

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 describe how the products of combustion reactions enter the ocean and affect its chemistry and how these changes impact the marine ecosystem.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know the impact of carbon dioxide on the ocean.
  • Know the importance of coral reefs.
  • Know how carbon dioxide leads to ocean warming and ocean acidification.
  • Know how ocean warming and ocean acidification affect the coral reefs, impacting the marine ecosystem.
  • Know that science can be used to understand and solve problems.
  • Be able to undertake research into scientific issues.
  • Be able to produce a scientific poster.


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

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What actions can we take to help stop the ocean changing?

Watch the clip below and any information you think is interesting or important. 

How the ocean is changing (

Ocean acidification research questions

Supporting factsheet: Ocean Acidification Factsheet

Question/task Answer
Carbon dioxide is produced through combustion reactions. List 4 things humans do that produce carbon dioxide and ways in which the amount of carbon dioxide produced can be reduced. 1.
How does increased carbon dioxide leads to ocean warming?
How does increased carbon dioxide cause ocean acidification?
Explain the role of the ocean in the carbon cycle.

Coral Reef research questions

Supporting factsheet: Coral Reefs Factsheet

Question/Task Answer
What are coral reefs?
Describe a hard coral and a soft coral.
Why are coral reefs so important in nature?
How are coral
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