|Scooped by Janet Mickels|
The world famous Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, is a significant Australian site that students can study for CUS3.3 from a global, cultural, and environmental perspective. In 1981 the Great Barrier Reef was included on the World Heritage List as a place of Outstanding Universal Value and for its integrity.
As the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is incredibly rich and diverse. Stretching 2300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can even be seen from outer space. Its coral reefs make up only 7% of the Marine Park and the World Heritage Area. The rest of the Marine Park is an incredible variety of marine habitat. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park:covers 344,400 km2 in area, includes the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, and includes some 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays and about 150 inshore mangrove islands.
This impressive and visually compelling website maintained by the Australian Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is full of educational content, for Stage 3 students in particular, to enable students to learn and identify examples of Australian culture, such as this significant site. The website should be viewed in conjunction with http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/, which is also maintained by the Authority. In view of its global significance, however, Stage 3 students could look further into the concept of an Australian identity by examining how a site with such "universal value" (meaning that it is important to everyone world wide beyond the value it holds to us nationally) can also be such a key part of our national cultural identity, and give their own point of view on this issue.
Students can also examine the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian culture and identity when learning about the Reef. There are more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner groups that have long continuing relationships with the Great Barrier Reef region and its natural resources. These groups are situated along the Queensland coast from the eastern Torres Strait Islands in the north to near Bundaberg in the south. The website covers this in some detail, including information about art, music, and dance, tools and weapons, hunting and collecting - see http://www.reefed.edu.au/home/explorer/hot_topics/gbr_traditional_owners..
The charter of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Education Unit is to deliver education programs and activities about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area throughout Australia. To meet this charter, the Education Unit has developed a range of new programs and educational activities, which are available online or by request. Reef Beat is aimed at Years 5 to 9.
Through this website, schools are invited to join the exciting educational program called "The Reef Guardian Schools Program", which encourages schools to commit to the protection and conservation of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. School newsletters can be also subscribed to via this website resource, which also contains an abundance of activities for students and teachers. A service learning oriented community service "waterways clean up" activity could help develop an understanding of environmental issues affecting the Reef and the threat pollution poses to the future of this culturally significant site.
Students and teachers are invited to "dive in" to the GBR Explorer, which is an online interactive resource to explore and learn about the animals, plants, landscapes, and geography of the Great Barrier Reef, which will help them better understand this important cultural icon. I am sure that children and adults alike will greatly enjoy going on this visually beautiful and exciting discovery tour.
The glossary of words used in the website would also make a fantastic teaching tool for spelling words to work into a themed lesson plan about Reef.
This website is an absolute delight!