Activity Introduction

blue_beach-sea-palm-trees_untitled_1-665-4-edit_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this lesson, students investigate the interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Students begin by refreshing their understanding of key terms and by using the carbon cycle as an example of global system interactions. Students then use information on marine ecosystems to create a diagram showing the interactions between the four global systems.

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:

  • Students will identify and describe interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE194)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in primary and secondary sources, and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS206)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-12ES, SC5-13ES, SC5-7WS, SC5-8WS.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to currently held scientific views.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film – Science – Year 9 & 10.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. Carbon Cycle Worksheet (one per pair of students). Turtles FactsheetSeabirds FactsheetCoral Reefs FactsheetDiagram Assessment Rubric.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, global systems, lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, turtles, seabirds, coral reefs.

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 intention: Students will understand that the hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere are interconnected. Students will understand that human activity affects the ocean and the ocean affects humans in return. 

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know what the hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and biosphere are and how they are interconnected.
  • Know the effects of human activity on the ocean.


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, Aus

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How do you interact with global systems?

Part 1: Global Systems and the Carbon Cycle

Your teacher will give you a copy of the Carbon Cycle Worksheet. Working in your pairs, label the biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere. Use arrows to represent the carbon cycle.

Part 2: The Effects of Human Activity on Global Systems

State of the reef (

How do humans impact global systems? Fill in the table by writing down examples mentioned in the clip (State of the reef - of how human activity impacts each of the four global systems.

Activity Hydrosphere Lithosphere Atmosphere Biosphere


Part 3: Finding Connections

In this activity you will be working in groups to create a diagram that shows the interactions between human activity and global systems, with particular reference to one aspect of the environment.

Your te

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