Activity Introduction

blue_rubbish-waste-beach_anhang-1-copy_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this lesson students will consider the ways individuals use language to communicate their thoughts, understandings and opinions. They will watch a short clip that explores a range of perspectives about plastic. Students will study rhetorical devices and how they can be used to persuade audiences. Students will then apply this knowledge to compare the use of rhetoric in two clips about plastic and its impact on the environment and ecosystems. 

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 will learn about rhetorical devices and how they can be used to persuade.
  • Students will understand the impact of ideas, values and attitudes on how the issue of plastic bags and ocean change are shared.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Understand that roles and relationships are developed and challenged through language and interpersonal skills (ACELA1551)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse texts, comparing and evaluating representations of an event, issue, situation or character in different texts (ACELY1744)
  • Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)
  • Listen to spoken texts constructed for different purposes, for example to entertain and to persuade, and analyse how language features of these texts position listeners to respond in particular ways (ACELY1740)

General Capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Syllabus Outcomes: EN5-1A, EN5-2A, EN5-5C

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse the ways that text structures can be manipulated for effect. They analyse and explain how images, vocabulary choices and language features distinguish the work of individual authors.Students select evidence from texts to analyse and explain how language choices and conventions are used to influence an audience. They listen for ways texts position an audience. Students understand how interpretations can vary by comparing their responses to texts to the responses of others.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water, Sustainability.
Unit of work: Blue The Film: English – Years 9 & 10
Time required: 90 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion and assess student work.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Rhetorical Devices Factsheet (one per student). How Do We Combat Our Plastic Addiction – Transcript.
Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, marine ecosystems, rhetoric, ethos, pathos, logos, plastic pollution.

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_plasticbaglookslikejellyfish_untitled_1-464-1_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will learn about rhetorical devices and how they can be used to persuade. Students will understand the impact of ideas, values and attitudes on how the issue of plastic bags and ocean change are shared.

Success criteria:

  • Students can explain rhetorical elements and how they are used to persuade.
  • Students can identify and explain the effects of specific rhetorical choices on audiences.
  • Students can describe the way attitudes towards plastic bags are expressed in different ways to engage audiences.


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 place

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How can we combat our addiction to plastic?

Part A. How can we Combat Plastic Addiction?

Watch the following clip from Blue The film. Focus on the language and way that certain individuals come across to viewers. Note your thoughts about the tone, manner, impression and language of the following people in the video in the table below.

Plastic addiction (

Individual voice   Jennifer Lavers   Tim Silverwood   Lucas Handley  
Notes about language
(tone, themes, word choices)

Part B.Finding out About Rhetoric

How to use rhetoric to get what you want - Camille A. Langston (

1. After watching the clip about rhetoric, note your own understanding or definition of rhetoric. Refer to how or when it is used and the three main appeals.

2. After reading through the Rhetorical Devices Factsheet, reflect on the information and enhance or add to your definition in the space provide

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