Activity Introduction

blue_beach-sea-palm-trees_untitled_1-665-4-edit_photoframeQuick summary: In this Social Action lesson, students will view the ‘Plastic Addiction’ clip from Blue The Film and consider the impact that plastic has on the ocean as well as ocean and shore-dwelling creatures. Students will research and discover options to reduce plastic waste and improve the health of our oceans. Students will brainstorm how people can make small changes in their everyday lives to reduce plastic use, then inspire their school community to reduce their plastic footprint in a public presentation of their ideas.

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: 

  • Understand the reasons for reducing plastic in the ocean.
  • Know about alternatives to plastic.
  • Understand how to effectively communicate ideas.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 & 6 HASS Inquiry and skills

  • Work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges (ACHASSI102, ACHASSI130)
  • Use criteria to make decisions and judgements and consider advantages and disadvantages of preferring one decision over others (ACHASSI103, ACHASSI131)
  • Reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects (ACHASSI104, ACHASSI132)

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 English

  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704)

Year 6 English

  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1714)

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.4, OI.5, OI.7, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 achievement standards: 

  • HASS: Students locate and collect data and information from a range of sources to answer inquiry questions. They work with others to generate alternative responses to an issue or challenge and reflect on their learning to independently propose action, describing the possible effects of their proposed action. Students present their ideas, findings and conclusions in a range of communication forms using discipline-specific terms and appropriate conventions.
  • English Year 5: They make presentations which include multimodal elements for defined purposes.
  • English Year 6: They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation.

Unit of work: Blue the Film Inquiry – Years 5 & 6

Time required: 3.5+ hours.

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 and video to the class. Student computers. A3 paper and textas. Lesson presentation. “How Might We…?” question poster

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, plastic, pollution, replacement. 

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_rainbow-sea-land_untitled_1-675-1-edit_photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand the reasons for reducing plastic in the ocean, develop knowledge about alternatives to plastic and understand how to effectively communicate ideas.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Name some alternatives to plastic products.
  • Deliver a presentation about plastic alternatives to the school community.
  • Show how they have the ability to create change.



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

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: 'The only way we can change the world is to work together' - Tim Silverwood

Identifying the Issue

1. Write down 2-3 things that you notice about each of these images.


Plastic that’s OK Plastic we don’t need


Plastic I use: Non-plastic replacement:

While you’re researching during the lesson, take some time to check out the Take Action section of the Blue The Film website! It contains some practical advice about how to reduce plastic consumption.

Designing Change

The big question you will be addressing is: 'How might we educate our community to use less plastic so that ocean health can improve?'

Decide on one plastic product and its alternatives that you will educate the community about. Write the name of the product here: 

Consider these points:

  • What do we want people to know about the problem?
  • What information can we share with people?
  • What change do we want people to make or
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