Moreton Bay Experience: Middle Primary Lesson Plans

Note regarding students’ prior learning: the grade has discussed where Moreton Bay is located and what the reasons are for the research trip.  There is a display erected in the classroom that includes maps of Australia showing the location of Moreton Bay, and a more local view of the area.  A ‘word wall’ has been erected that includes the names of various sea creatures and posters erected showing marine wildlife, plant species and Earthwatch research boats.

Lesson 1:

Topic: Habitat – Seagrasses

Learning Intention: I know what seagrass is and understand why it is important.

Success Criteria:

  • - describe why seagrass is important in Moreton Bay
  • - describe what seagrass needs to grow
  • - describe how seagrass is part of a food web

Whole class:

Tuning in: ask students - what are seagrasses?  Think, pair, share.

Activity 1: Students complete KWL chart on seagrass working alongside their learning partner.

Regroup: share “what we know” and “what we want to learn” about seagrasses. 

Watch YouTube Clip about seagrasses: (teacher may read out some of the text on the screen to assist students).  

Possible questions to generate discussion with students:

-       Why is seagrass so important? (only marine flowering plant, meadows found along the coastline, is food and shelter for marine life such as dugongs and sea turtles)

-       What does seagrass need to grow? (sunlight, clean water, mud/ sand)

Other discussion points:

-       Seagrass food web: all living things are connected, food chain.

-       Word meanings: biodiverse, adaptions, food web, ecosystem.

Activity 2: students complete the final part of the KWL chart (what I have learned). 

*Another online resource that may assist teachers and general student discussion is:


Students share “what they have learned”.

Leave students to wonder about ‘which animals rely on seagrass to exist’ before next lesson.


Lesson 2:

Topic: Wildlife – Dugongs

Learning Intention: I can describe the features of a dugong is, where it lives and what it eats.

Success Criteria:

  • - describe the ‘ideal’ habitat for dolphins
  • - describe what dugongs eat
  • - understand the life cycle of a dugong
  • - compare and contrast a dugong with a dolphin

Whole class:

Review: previous lesson (seagrass).

Tuning in: ask students – what does the word “dugong” mean?  Think about what they look like, what do they eat?  Turn and talk then share. 

Watch YouTube Clip about a dugong in captivity:

Possible questions to generate discussion with students:

-       What conditions/ environment do dugongs live in? Why? (shallow protected bays, mangrove channels, inside edge of large inshore islands, around seagrass beds)

-       What are herbivores?

-       What are mammals?

Review information with students:

Discuss: what dugongs eat, life cycle, distribution, behaviour

Discuss/ question: what do students know about dolphins?  Whole class brainstorm.

Activity: Students complete Venn diagram on dugongs and dolphins working alongside their learning partner.

*If students need to review information on dolphins, use:


Students share their Venn diagrams with the class.

Leave students to wonder about possible ‘threats’ to dugongs.

Read to students “Dhyum the Dugong” if time allows:


Lesson 3:

Topic: Threats to habitat and wildlife

Learning Intentions: I can describe the threats that exist to seagrasses and dugongs.

Success Criteria:

  • describe the threats to seagrasses
  • describe the threats to dugongs
  • understand the relationships between the survival of seagrass and survival of dugongs
  • consider how you could help ensure the survival of dugongs

Whole class:

Review: previous lessons (seagrass and dugongs).

Tuning in: ask students – what do you think are some of the threats to dugongs and their habitat?  Brainstorm as a whole class.

Review some of the websites previously looked at on seagrass and dugongs as required.

Possible questions to generate discussion with students:

-       What are some of the more specific threats to seagrass? (pollution: sewerage, oil spills, run off from agriculture and urban development and physical destruction: dredging, boat propellers, anchors)

-       How can we monitor the impact of these threats on the seagrass? (mapping, observing changes over time, sediment distribution)

-       What are some of the more specific threats to dugongs? (population increase, pollution, boat traffic, boat strike, coastal development, run off/ flooding, entanglement in fishing gear, loss of habitat/ seagrass)

-       Highlight the relationship between seagrass loss and dugongs survival.

Activity 1: Students complete Cause and Effect chart for dugongs within a small group. 

Extension/ further activity: Students write a letter to persuade the local council to conduct further research into helping ensure the survival of dugongs in Moreton Bay.


Students share their Cause and effect chart with the class.

Discuss with students what they can do to help ensure the survival of dugongs and their habitat.