Activity Introduction

blue_birds-dancing_untitled_1-319-4-edit_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students investigate the differences between food webs and food chains, and examine how these visual tools help us to understand the health of the oceans. Students begin by defining a range of key terms related to food webs and food chains, and then analyse models to identify the flow of energy. Students will then test the fragility of a food web, seeing what happens when species within that food web are removed. Finally, students examine some of the ways humans impact marine environments, working in groups to create a poster that describes a food chain of a marine species under threat from human behaviours.

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 difference between a food web and a food chain.
  • Students understand how each species in a food web is integral to the health of the whole web.
  • Students recognise how food webs can be used to help us understand the health of marine environments.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities can be represented by food chains and food webs (ACSSU112)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-15LW.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

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

Time required: 120 mins +

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in discussion and class activities, oversee group work.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Food Chains and Food Webs Factsheet. Marine Food Web Factsheet. Marine Food Web – With Answers. Trophic Levels Factsheet. Antarctic Organisms Cards. Ball of string. Poster making materials. 

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, food chains, food webs, marine organisms.

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² Australia, Shark Island Institute, Documentary Australia Foundation, The 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_fish-swimming_untitled_1-583-1_photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will understand how food chains and food webs can be used to assess human impacts on marine ecosystems.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know the difference between food webs and food chains.
  • Know the trophic levels of food webs.
  • Be able to undertake research online.
  • 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 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 international standards, Australia is a marine conservation leader. It has the world’s largest cora

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What role do humans play in food webs?

Activating Prior Knowledge

Your group has been given three words or terms to define. Work together to come up with a definition for each term WITHOUT looking up the answers. Add them to the table below:

Word/term 1: Definition:
Word/term 2: Definition:
Word/term 3: Definition:

How Do Humans Impact Marine Food Webs?

You will now work in groups to create a poster describing the food chain for one of the following animals (your teacher will assign your group with an animal):

  • Shark
  • Marine turtle
  • Tuna

Once you have been assigned an animal, your group needs to select one particular species of this animal to create a food chain for.


The food chain should be annotated to include:

  • The names of the organisms in the food chain
  • One interesting or surprising feature about each organism in the food chain
  • The flow of energy
  • Existing and potential threats to this food chain (e.g. human impacts
- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.