Activity Introduction

blue_young_bird_in_hands_untitled_1-534-3_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this lesson students investigate shearwaters and how human behaviours threaten shearwaters and other seabirds. They begin by defining the features of all birds and in particular, the Flesh-footed Shearwater. They then participate in a role play and a drawing activity to identify the stages of the Flesh-footed Shearwater’s lifecycle, from egg to adult. Finally, students consider how human behaviours – in particular, plastic waste – can impact the oceans and the creatures that live there. Students will explore ways to take action and ‘STOP the DROP’ of litter in their schoolyard and local area.

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 the lifecycle of a shearwater.
  • Students will recognise some of the human behaviours that affect the health of all seabirds, including shearwaters.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)

Year 4 Science

  • Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
  • Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
  • Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS071)

Syllabus outcomes: ST2-10LW, ST2-11LW, ST2-4WS.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.4, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Science achievement standards: Students group living things based on observable features and distinguish them from non-living things. 

Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: Students describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal. They use formal and informal ways to communicate their observations and findings.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film: Inquiry – Years 3 & 4.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and lead discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Flesh-footed Shearwaters Life Cycle Challenge Sheet (enlarged and printed on A3 sized paper – one copy for each pair of students). Scissors. Drawing materials. Flesh-footed Shearwater Picture. Once piece of A4 paper. Blu-tack.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, seabirds, Flesh-footed Shearwater, oceans, plastic.

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_jennifer_holding_injured_bird_1q4a2136_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Student learn about the lifecycle of a Flesh-footed Shearwater, how human behaviours threaten all seabirds and some things we can all do to help them.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know up to three features of a shearwater.
  • Know three different things a shearwater needs to live.
  • Know how plastics are harming shearwaters.
  • Be able to help shearwaters by taking part in a ‘STOP the DROP’ action.


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 placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered.

By international standards,

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How many different types of seabirds can you think of?


Work independently to answer the following questions:

Write three things you found interesting about shearwaters: 1.
Share two ways we can all help shearwaters: 1.
Write one question you still have about what you looked at in this lesson: 1.
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