How do scientists explore underwater ecosystems?

Lesson overview

Throughout this lesson students explore underwater habitats and begin to understand the importance of the XL Catlin Seaview Survey. Students consider why exploration of this kind can be challenging for humans and learn dive signs so they can communicate on their virtual dive. During the virtual dive students use 360 virtual reality to explore this dynamic environment, identifying some of the species that live there. Students go on to classify these species and record the findings of their first dive.

Learning outcomes

  • Know that we live on a blue planet
  • Name a variety of ocean habitats and species that live there
  • Describe the XL Catlin Seaview Survey and its scientific aims
  • Understand the different techniques scientists use to work underwater
  • Carry out a virtual dive on the reef
  • Identify common species found in the coral reef habitat
  • Reflect on the importance of the Great Barrier Reef

Lesson steps

  1. What is the ocean habitat like? (10 mins)
    Students are introduced to the coral ocean through a quiz to understand the scale and complexity of this ecosystem.
  2. How is the baseline survey being created? (10 mins)
    Students become familiar with the XL Catlin Seaview Survey and the scientific rational behind the exploration.
  3. How do scientists work underwater? (15 mins)
    Students consider some of the challenges scientists face working in this environment and practice using dive signs to communicate.
  4. What types of things are found on the reef? (15 mins)
    Students go on a virtual dive and identify the species they encounter. These species are then classified.
  5. Why is the Great Barrier Reef so important? (10mins)
    Students complete a dive log, specifying the species they encountered on their virtual dive and summarising what the ocean habitat is like.