At the end of the lesson, students will be able to describe ways in which their personal actions affect ocean wildlife.
Students use a simple checklist to assess the ocean creatures they affect through their everyday actions.
Humans depend on oceans for important services and products. We also affect the life-giving seas through our daily activities. For example, we:
- pour toxic house cleaners down the drain;
- improperly dispose of toxic waste;
- fail to "reduce, re-use, recycle";
- use fertilizers and pesticides on our yards; and
- contribute to global climate change by choosing the automobile over boots and bikes.
When these routine activities are repeated daily by millions of individuals over lifetimes, they add up to a monstrous challenge for ocean wildlife—and eventually for us.
On the other hand, if we each do our part and send a little less pollution seaward, we'll all benefit.
- Introduce the topic. Emphasize that we are connected to all oceans through the atmosphere and to one of Canada's oceans through our local watershed. Use the "Canadian Drainage Basins" (PDF) map or the "Creature Connections Discovery Tour" game board to point out the main connections, especially to ocean wildlife.
- Hand out the "From Me to the Sea" checklist. Answer students' questions and ask them to fill it out as accurately as possible.
- Share results. Discuss connections between their activities and threats to ocean wildlife (see the checklist "Interpretations").
- Discuss simple ways they can give a "gift" to the ocean that doesn't harm wildlife— the gift of cleaner water and air. Have each student write three simple actions they will take to send cleaner water to the oceans and ocean creatures.
- Summarize results and have the students create a poster or presentation on their commitments for an Oceans Day event.
- Display the final posters and follow up to encourage continued action.
Do the "Ocean Links Activity" to assess how your school and community affect oceans.
Evaluate the proposed actions and have students report on how their behaviours affect ocean wildlife. How well do their proposed solutions address the potential problem?
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