Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. During this lesson, students learn about the significance of unsustainable fishing practices on our oceans. They begin by investigating the meaning of both sustainable and unsustainable, and work in groups to look at some of the unsustainable fishing practices currently in use. Students then take part in a group STEM innovation challenge to design a fishing device that reduces by-catch and protects our oceans.

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 what unsustainable fishing practices are and how they can negatively impact the oceans.
  • Students identify sustainable fishing practices and understand how they would benefit the oceans.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 & 6 Design and Technologies

  • Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services, and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)
  • Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use (ACTDEK023)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-14BE, ST3-15I, ST3-16P, ST3-13MW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1.

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 Design and Technologies achievement standards: Students describe competing considerations in the design of products, services and environments, taking into account sustainability. They describe how design and technologies contribute to meeting present and future needs. 

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

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

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead students in discussions and design challenge.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. A3 paper and pens/pencils for drawing designs. Devices for conducting online research.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, fishing, sustainable, unsustainable, oceans, STEM.

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_fish-swimming_untitled_1-583-1_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students will understand what unsustainable fishing practices are, how they impact the oceans and how sustainable alternatives would benefit the oceans.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know what overfishing is and why it is a problem in our oceans.
  • Be able to think of creative solutions to the problem presented.
  • Be able to use technology as part of their solution.
  • Be able to work collaboratively with others to solve a problem.
  • Be able to express ideas as part of a group.
  • Be able to design using STEM techniques.


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 pollut

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What sort of fish do you eat?

Student STEM Challenge 

STEM CHALLENGE: To design a new sustainable fishing device or technique to help catch fish without catching non-target species (by-catch). This may include a new type of fishing net to collect the species you want and exclude others, a new boat design with a sorting system or a special way to remove the fish from the water without the use of nets.

TARGET SPECIES: A new fish species is discovered called Tiny Tuna. The target size for this species is 15cm and at this size the Tiny Tuna is 5 years old. Tiny Tuna reach breeding age at 2 years old. At this time they are 10cm in size, meaning they are big enough to eat. Tiny Tuna are found in the world’s oceans and are important for local fishing villages around the world.

RULES: All large scale fishing ships are not allowed to be used.

1. Discuss the STEM challenge questions with your group and fill in the answers to the questions below. 

STEM Goal: What am I
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