What is the effect of human impact on the reef?

Lesson overview

Students will consider the varied threats faced by the coral reef. These range from long-term environmental changes caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, to changes in land use in coastal areas. Through gathering information from a range of sources students will complete an overview of the threats faced by the reef. Students will be prompted to consider what changes could be made to ensure that there are healthy coral reefs well into the future.

Lesson outcomes

  • Describe the damage to the Great Barrier Reef since 1987 and share reactions to it
  • Investigate the range of impacts on the coral reef
  • Debate the future of coral
  • Identify and communicate examples of reef friendly living

Lesson steps

  1. What’s the state of the Great Barrier Reef? (15 mins)
    Students explore the findings of the Australian Institute for Marine Science report which show that the Great Barrier Reef is being destroyed by storms, ocean warming (bleaching) and Crown of Thorns starfish and that since records began in 1986 this has resulted in coral coverage reducing by 30% (1/3 up to the beginning of 2017).
  2. How can human activity affect the reef? (35 mins)
    Students gather information from a range of sources through completing a carousel, to understand how and why the reef is being damaged.
  3. Will future generations see a coral reef? (10 mins)
    Students reflect on the fact that by 2050 the coral reefs could be in terminal decline and describe how they feel about protecting corals now and in the future.