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What is coral?

This opening lesson for AXA Coral Live introduces students to the animal that makes up the amazing reef ecosystem, the coral polyp. In this lesson, students will learn about the anatomy of the coral polyp and consider how coral can be classified and how it compares to animals in their local environment.

Broadcast on Mon 9 Nov 2020
  • 45 mins
  • Ages 11-14
Curriculum links
  • Anatomy of a marine invertebrate
  • Compare coral to animals in the local habitat
  • Explore and compare a new and different ecosystem
  • Use different methods to communicate science

If you have never joined a live lesson before, see the guidance hub, where you will find technical and educational support.

Live lessons work best when students have some prior knowledge and have prepared questions. You can select from any of the STEAM activities in the Coral Oceans collection or teach a one-off Coral Live prep lesson.

Questions generated by your class can be submitted via the Encounter Live tab in your Encounter Edu profile.
This lesson is based around the Incredible Edible Polyp activity and if your students are following live, you will need to gather these activity resources in advance.

Session steps

1. Introduction (5 mins)
Jamie will open the lesson with a welcome and brief introduction to Coral Live.

2. Subject knowledge (10 mins)
Jamie will then explain a little about coral reefs, the habitat and the anatomy of coral polyps. During this time, distribute the activity resources to students and make any preparations needed before commencing the activity.

3. Ask me anything (15 mins)
Jamie will begin to make the incredible edible polyp. Students can follow along in real-time, or create their polyps at a later date. At this point, you can submit students’ questions via the live chat.

4. Q&A (15 mins)
After completing the activity, Jamie will be able to answer questions and take part in the live chat. At the end of the lesson, Jamie will suggest some other activities you might like to try and what’s coming up in the rest of Coral Live 2020.


Coral Live 2018 Jamie Buchanan Dunlop

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop

Executive Director, Encounter Edu

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