What is the structure of a coral reef?

Lesson overview

In this lesson, students will be being to develop further understanding of coral reefs, how they are formed, the importance of the coral polyp and how they grow from a single coral polyp to a huge coral reef. Students will then look at the coral reef zones and develop understanding of those different zones and the characteristics of those zones.

Learning outcomes

  • List the different scales of a coral reef.
  • Describe what a coral polyp is and why it is important.
  • Describe and explain the formation of different coral reefs.
  • Describe the different habitat zones within a coral reef.

Lesson steps

  1. Coral polyps and coral reefs (15 minutes)
    Students to learn about the different scales of coral reefs looking at the Gallery: Reef scales. Students then look at coral polyps and coral reefs more specifically and watch a video.
  2. Incredible edible polyp (25 minutes)
    Student to watch the video about coral polyps and will make them. Consolidating their understanding by answering some questions.
  3. Formation of different reefs (10 minutes)
    Student’s will complete the worksheet completing a matching up task, matching pictures that show the formation of a coral atoll and how it changes from a volcanic island to a coral atoll to the description of that process.
  4. The different reef habitat zones (10 minutes)
    Students will complete the worksheet labelling the different zones of the reef habitat zones and sticking pictures of different types of corals to the picture.
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