How can humans affect the marine environment?

Lesson overview

The ocean is worth $49.7 trillion to the global economy and its beauty is priceless. People, every day, all over the world, use the ocean for a whole variety of purposes: but what impact does this human activity have on the ocean, the organisms that live there and on us?

Learning outcomes

  • Give examples of human impacts (Foundation)
  • Use the words ‘overfishing’ ‘dose’ and ‘persistent’ correctly (Developing)
  • Describe what happens in a trophic cascade and apply this knowledge (Developing)
  • Describe the process of bioaccumulation (Competent)
  • Explain why it is difficult to predict the impact of population change (Expert)

Lesson steps

  1. 1. Brief from Dr Pennie Lindeque (5 mins)
    Use the slides to set the context and share the learning outcomes.
  2. Human impact (5 mins)
    Using the slides students discuss how humans can damage the marine environment. Highlight the two we will consider in the lesson: reducing populations and discharging chemical waste.
  3. Trophic cascades (10 mins)
    Using the slides, students consider the impact of changing the size of populations in food chains and webs. Learning check point: slide based questions.
  4. Bioaccumulation role play (20 mins)
    Students learn about bioaccumulation through role play and ‘paper poison’.
    Learning check point: stepping stone activity.
  5. Summary assessment worksheet (15 mins)
    Students demonstrate their learning by answering questions on Student Sheet 2b or 2c.
  6. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Using slides, students consider how alternative ‘teachers’ may have delivered the lesson.

Flip it

Ask students to view the plastic pollution images in the Photo Gallery prior to the lesson. Ask them to make a list of the problems humans can cause in the marine environment.