Big Blue Ocean
Task 1: Introduction and warm up

Teachers, here is some information you may like to share with your students before watching the episode:

  • This episode explores the ocean and three animals that call it home: the Tiger Shark, Manta Ray and Humpback Whale.
  • Two thirds of our world’s surface is covered by oceans.  
  • The ocean is a mysterious and unforgiving place and is deeper than the highest mountains. 
  • The ocean is less explored than the surface of the moon. 

Consider creating a list of unique vocabulary found in Built To Survive. These words can be added to the class spelling list or can be formed into a class glossary for definitions. 

With the above image on the board, dedicate three sections of your classroom to represent each of the three animals: 1. Tiger Shark, 2. Manta Ray and 3. Humpback Whale. Ask students to respond to the following questions by moving around the room to show their predictions.

  • Which animal do you think is the biggest?
  • Which animal do you think is the fastest? 
  • Which animal do you think is the heaviest?
  • Which animal do you think can dive the deepest?
  • Which animal do you think is most built to survive?  

Teachers could extend student responses by seeking a rationale for their predictions. After each move around the room, ask students to explain their decisions.

Repeat this activity after watching the episode to see if students' answers change.

Remind students that they should not disturb or try to handle wild animals as they can be dangerous.

Task 2: Watch and document

As a class, watch 'Big Blue Ocean' - episode 6 of Built to Survive. While watching, ask students to take notes on key facts Phil and the experts share on each of the three animals in the episode. 

At the end of the episode, students can choose which animal they think is without a doubt ‘built to survive’. Support students to form small groups with other students who have selected the same animal. This will be be their documentary production team for the next task. 

Task 3: Reflect and collaborate

In their documentary production teams, ask students to reflect on the episode and the facts they learnt about the animal they believe is the strongest in the ocean environment - the animal that is ‘built to survive’. 

Download or print the animal facts sheets to support the production team's research.

Document a range of facts you would like to share back in your documentary segment. 

Remember to document how the animal and the ecosystem work together to survive and thrive.

Download the planning sheet below to support your planning:

Extension task

Students may like to continue researching their chosen animal through the reef tracker website that tracks the movements of underwater animals across the Great Barrier Reef: 

Task 4: Present and share

To prepare for filming the Built to Survive segments, download the below green screen backgrounds and cutaway footage. Then, follow the tips and tricks in the Documentary Filmmaking section of this resource to film and edit each documentary production team's segment.

In this file you will find:

  • 3 x downloadable greenscreen backgrounds
    • Tiger shark background
    • Manta ray background
    • Humpback whale background

  • 3 x downloadable cutaways folders with two cutaway clips for each animal
    • Tiger shark cutaways x 2
    • Manta ray cutaways x 2 
    • Humpback whale cutaways x 2

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