Human impact on the reef

Lesson overview:

Students will consider the various impacts humans have had on the coral reef ecosystem, both positive and negative. These impacts range from long-term environmental changes caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, to changes in land use in coastal areas and the impact of fertilisers on the ecosystem balance. Students will be prompted to consider what changes could be made to ensure that there are healthy coral reefs well into the future.

Learning outcomes:

  • Describe the importance of natural environments, including what they give to humans
  • Explore examples of human impact (both positive and negative) on environments
  • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things
  • Suggest actions that can be taken on a global and local scale to reduce the negative human impact on environments

Lesson steps

  1. Why should we care? (10 mins)
    Start the lesson by reviewing previous learning about the reef. Ask students why they think the reef is important.
  2. What are the different impacts humans can have on the reef? (15 mins)
    Students use the Coral futures dominos activity to consider some of the negative human impacts on the reef and then match them with examples of actions that can mitigate these.
  3. Coral futures poster (25 mins)
    Students consolidate their learning creating a coral futures poster that shows what they love about the reef, what harm is being done to the reef, and what actions can be taken to conserve it for the future.
  4. Coral futures pledge (10 mins)
    Students share their posters and make a pledge of their own or suggest a pledge that they would like an adult to make.