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Protecting Our Coral Reefs for Future Generations

Water in the Community

Unit Summary

In the Philippines, only a small percentage of its coral reefs is spared from destructive fishing practices, land-based pollution, sedimentation, and global climate change. One of the primary concerns of the government right now is promoting awareness among its people to help conserve our natural resources like the coral reefs.

In this unit, students assume the role of environmentalists where their goal is to promote awareness on the importance of coral reefs and how to protect them. To do this, students will research and collect background information about coral reefs by surfing the web viewing video materials, reading print materials and visiting actual coral reefs, if feasible. They will create a multimedia presentation of their advocacy plan and a newsletter, flyer, and a website to promote conservation of coral reefs.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How do we affect our environment?
  • Unit Questions
    Why is it important that we take care of our coral reefs?
    How can we help protect the coral reefs?
  • Content Questions
    What is a coral reef?
    What do we get from coral reefs?
    What living things are found in the coral reefs?
    Why do these living things thrive there?
    How do destructive fishing practices affect the coral reef?
    What is the effect of dynamite fishing, cyanide poisoning and muro-ami on the productivity of coral reefs?
    How do deforestation, heavy fertilizer use and soil erosion affect reef productivity?

Instructional Procedures

Implementation Plan (doc): (One month before: Preliminaries)

  • Send out/collect authorization/permission forms (Acceptable use policies parent consent forms for e-mail projects, Internet, field trip, etc.)
  • Reserve the equipment and computer laboratory.
  • Check out books/journals/magazines/newspapers to use in your class.
  • Make arrangement with computer teacher on computer use & additional instruction on software use.
  • Schedule a day for launching student advocacy campaign.
  • Schedule a visit & reserve speaker for the talk.
  • Purchase/obtain materials and supplies to support hands-on activities.
  • Upload your teacher-created website for student use during Unit.
  • Double-check URLs that students will use prior to computer time. Update Favorites or teacher website.
  • Set up how you will store/share student work.
  • Be sure students have prerequisite skills and provide training opportunities for those who are below skill level in using computer programs.

Day 1 (Introduction)

  • Students are introduced to coral reefs using a multimedia presentation (ppt) given by the teacher.
  • Students do Activity 1 “Coral Reef Pie Chart” and engage in a class discussion.
    Using a paper plate representing the earth pupils will construct a pie chart showing the land (1/4) & ocean (3/4) fractions of the earth. The ocean fraction shall be divided further into two, one part representing the coastal zone where food from the ocean can be obtained. The fraction of the coastal zone where photosynthesis takes place shall be represented by dots. Coral reefs are located in this zone. After doing the pie chart, pupils shall locate on the globe the 25º North and South of the equator where these coral reefs are found.
  • Teacher also presents to the class the website she developed for the class.

Day 2

  • Students view a video about coral reefs and reflect on coral reefs by writing a poem (doc) (second sample poem (doc)) or short essay.
  • As homework, students read up on existing laws and articles on fishing methods and reasons for choosing the correct fishing methods on the part of the fisherman.

Day 3

  • Students view a video on human practices that destroy coral reefs.
  • Students do Activity 2 “Coral Consequences” and engage in a class discussion.
    Students will brainstorm on the possible consequences resulting from continuous practice of dangerous fishing methods, soil erosion due to deforestation, and heavy fertilizer use.

Day 4

  • Students do Activity 3 “Do Your Part (Role-playing)” and engage in a class discussion.
    Students shall think of ways to protect the coral reefs while playing the roles of: beach resort owner, lawmaker and fisherman.

Day 5

  • Students listen to a talk by an expert on effects of deforestation, soil erosion and heavy fertilizer use on coral reef productivity and engage in an open forum.

Note: Prior to this day, follow-up speaker and venue for talk.

Day 6

Days 7-8

  • Students divide into groups to brainstorm on their advocacy plan to save the coral reefs.

Note: Prior to students working on the computer laboratory, teacher will post the rules on computer use.

Days 8-9

  • Students, in groups, write down their advocacy plan.  They can use the advocacy plan sheet (doc) provided by the teacher.
  • Students prepare a multimedia presentation of their advocacy plan.
    Development of a Student Multimedia Presentation
    • Students use a Microsoft PowerPoint* template to guide them through the presentation.
    • Students cite all sources used.
    • Students present their Microsoft PowerPoint* presentations to the class.

Day 10

Days 11-15

  • Students work on their specific tasks under the plan.
    Development of a Student Website
    • Students use the Internet for researching on the content of the website.
    • Students write articles for the website.
    • Students use Microsoft Publisher* to create their website.
    • Students search the Internet for appropriate photos/pictures.
    • Students cite all sources used. 
    • Students use the Yahoo Geocities* for free hosting of their website.
    Development of a Student Newsletter/Brochure
    • Students use the Internet for researching on the content of the newsletter/brochure.
    • Students write articles for the newsletter/brochure.
    • Students use Microsoft Microsoft Publisher* to create a newsletter/brochure.
    • Students search the Internet for appropriate photos/pictures.
    • Students cite all sources used.
    • Students publish their newsletter/brochure on paper.
    • Students prepare distribution plan for the newsletter/brochure. Students also publish their newsletter online. This can be one of the links in their website.
  • Students use print and non-print materials as needed.

Day 16

  • Students launch their advocacy campaign.
  • At the end of the 1st week of implementation (if launched) or at the end of the unit, students reflect on what they learned using the student’s reflection sheet (doc).

Implementation Plan (doc): (A week after implementation: Post-implementation)

  • Post evaluation (teacher self-reflection, student reflection, parent survey)
  • Clean up files at the computer laboratory.
  • Return books and other materials used.
  • Schedule a presentation for donors and community officials.
  • Think about the next unit that could effectively integrate technology.
  • Distribute Certificate of Appreciation to speakers.
  • Award the group who has the best advocacy plan.

Prerequisite Skills

Computer Skills

  • Basic skills in manipulating the computer like saving information to various drives (A, file server, desktop, C), printing, and using an electronic encyclopedia.
  • Basic surfing skills like using search engines (e.g. AltaVista*, Ask Jeeves*, Google*).
  • Basic skills in using office applications like Microsoft Word*, Microsoft PowerPoint*, and Microsoft Publisher*.

Communication Skills

  • Use of notes and note taking skills.
  • Basic skills in planning an advocacy campaign.
  • Basic knowledge in journalistic skills (e.g. news writing, editorial writing, features writing, photojournalism).

Differentiated Instruction

Resource Student

  • Eliminate advocacy planning and implementation.
  • Concentrate on hands-on activities and viewing of videos and multimedia presentations.
  • Add more drawing activities instead of class discussions and writing exercises.

Gifted Student

  • Supplement with exposure trips to coral reefs if feasible.
  • Encourage them to lead, plan and implement a school-wide Coral Reef Week; organize a local club (i.e. ProREEF).
  • Encourage more creative work like literary portfolios, art exhibits, songs and drama/plays.

Coastal Area
Students may go to actual coral reefs and survey the different organisms thriving there (by zone) to come up with an organism density in the surveyed zones of the reef. The class can also interview fishermen on what fishing method they practice and their reason for choosing it.

Non-Coastal Area and No Nearby Marine Institute
In lieu of coral reef and/or Marine Institute visits, the teacher may borrow or procure more video materials to enrich their learning.

Water in the Community

At a Glance

Grade Level: 7 (1st Year High School)
Subject: Science
Time Needed: 14 class meetings, where each meeting is for 60 minutes

Student Assessment

Students shall be graded according to:
Self-evaluation and peer evaluation (doc) 20%
Advocacy plan per group (per group: initial presentation) 30%
Plan rubric (doc) (mechanics, content)       25%
Multimedia presentation rubric (doc)         5%
Incorporation of technology (refer to specific group) 50%
Website group rubric (doc)
Newsletter group rubric (doc)
Brochure group rubric (doc)
T-shirt and sticker design & production group rubric (doc)  

Key Word Search

- Coral reefs

- Environment

- Conservation of coral reefs

Risa Reyes, Pia Campo, and May Ronda are staff of UP NISMED who participated in the Intel® Teach Program Training last March 2003. They developed this unit plan idea as a team, during the training and enhanced their work after the training. This is the enhanced version of their training output.