Activity Introduction

wwf_turtle_close-up2_photoframeQuick summary: In this lesson students learn about marine turtles and the threats facing them. Students begin by looking at some of the physical characteristics of marine turtles and the features of their life cycle. They then work in groups to investigate the different threats to marine turtles and create a poster or presentation to share with the class. Students then participate in a guided discussion around a video describing how some people are helping marine turtles, and think about the actions we can all take to help marine turtles. Finally, students are asked to work independently to write a poem or reflective piece aimed at convincing people to take action to protect marine turtles. Note: This lesson can be followed by Design a Turtle Nest Protector – Year 4, 5 & 6 – Lesson 2.

WWF-Logo-small1This lesson has been developed in partnership with WWF-Australia. WWF-Australia has been working to conserve marine turtles and the habitats they live in. Following this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to celebrate World Turtle Day on the 23rd of May. Join with other amazing teachers and students around Australia who are taking action to conserve marine turtles.

Essential questions:

  • Where do marine turtles live and what are some of their physical characteristics?
  • Why are marine turtles under threat? What are some of these threats?
  • What can we all do to help protect marine turtles?

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 4 Science

  • Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
  • Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

Year 5 HASS – Geography

  • The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them (ACHASSK113)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW, GE3-2, GE3-3.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.7, OI.9.

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. 

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS – Geography achievement standards: Students identify and describe the interconnections between people and the environmental characteristics of places.

Topic: Marine turtles, Biodiversity.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee lesson and lead students in class discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Presentation Assessment Rubric. All About Turtles – Factsheet. Student workbooks and pen/pencil. Poster making materials. Turtle Threats factsheets:

Keywords: Marine turtles, ocean, threats, protection, conservation, WWF-Australia, World Turtle Day.

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

wwf_turtles_tracking_turtle_photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will understand the threats facing marine turtles and identify actions we can take to protect marine turtles.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Be able to undertake online research in response to a set of criteria.
  • Be able to present research to the class.
  • Know about the threats facing marine turtles.
  • Know about actions to help marine turtles.


Teacher content information: Marine turtles have been swimming in our oceans since well before the dinosaurs, with fossil records suggesting they have been around for 100 million years. Yet, marine turtles are now facing a range of threats that have seen their numbers decline dramatically. Despite female turtles laying hundreds of eggs, it is estimated that only one in a thousand mature females will actually go on to lay eggs. Turtles face increasing challenges at every stage of their life cycle, from damaged nesting sites due to human interaction on beaches (such as driving 4WDs

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How are turtles in trouble?

Part A. Activating Prior Knowledge

What do you already know about marine turtles? Team up with a partner and interview each other using the following questions. Add your partner's answers to the table:

Question Answer
Where do marine turtles live?
Are marine turtles reptiles or fish or mammals? How do you know? What features or parts of their body support your answer?
What parts of a turtle's body help them to survive in their environment?
What do you know about how marine turtles breed?  


Working independently, you will now write a short reflection piece or poem aimed at convincing others to take action to help marine turtles. This could:

  • Include information about threats to turtles and actions that may be taken to help them.
  • Include details about how your thinking on this issue has changed with this lesson and why you think we should act.
  • Focus on the wonder of turtles and/or
- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.