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Coral Reefs In Danger
Finding Nemo

By Cynthia Kirkeby
May 22, 2004, 06:19 PST

Coral Reefs in danger

Grade Level: Grade 7-12, College

Subject: Science

Finding Nemo lesson plan, lesson plan for Finding Nemo, Finding Nemo, coral reefs in danger, coral reefs, learning about coral reefs, coral, what is coral, NASA, JPL, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Coral Reef Alliance, coral friendly diving, coral friendly snorkeling, ocean clean up, teaching with film, movies in the classroom, Red Sea coral, reefs in peril, lesson plans on coral, threats to corals reefs, coral photos, lesson plans for movies, movie lesson plans, teaching with movies, teaching with film, ClassBrain

Author: Cynthia Kirkeby

Affiliation: ClassBrain, Inc.

Date: 18 May, 2003

Duration: 1-4 class periods

Film: Finding Nemo © Disney / Pixar

MPAA Rating: G for all audiences

Film Information From Finding Nemo


In Finding Nemo, we get a delightful look at the world under the sea. Since over 70% of the world is covered by water, we need to understand what is happening in the ocean. An incredible number of marine species are dependent on coral reefs. What happens if we destroy the coral reefs around the world? Are we in a marine crisis?

Jeff Dawson - Coral Reef Photobank

According to NASA, one third of all marine life live in coral reefs, and the coral reefs are in danger. Approximately 60% of the coral reefs in the red sea are thought to be in peril and this area has approximately 6% of all of the coral reefs in the world. That’s a scary number for a lot of scientists. If we were to lose a large quantity of the coral reefs around the world, we would probably also lose a similarly large number of marine species that depend on the reefs. The Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA believes that the number of endangered coral reefs around the globe could also be as high as 60% of the total reef population.

What can we do to protect the reefs? The first thing to do is to become educated. A lot of damage to our ecosystem takes place because people don’t understand how they are hurting the environment. The second thing that you can do is spread the word. Some of the most effective change that has taken place in our world has come from grassroots movements.


Project One: Show the trailers of Finding Nemo to the class. Hold a discussion of the different marine creatures that depend on the coral reefs.

Project Two: Have the students create a collage of photos of different types of coral to create their own reef. You can use the pictures from the Coral Reef Photobank (see link below). They can create their virtual reef based on the region, or they can make a global composite reef.

Project Three: Create a simple ten point guide to the environmental and human-based threats to the coral reefs. Illustrate the guide with a drawing of a coral reef or a collage (see project two).

Project Four: Get out into the community. If you have a number of students that snorkel, you can arrange an ocean cleanup day. Can’t arrange for a dive? How about arranging for a shoreline cleanup. If we don’t get the garage off the shore, it will eventually end up in the ocean.


Coral Friendly Snorkeling
Coral Friendly Diving
Underwater Cleanup
Source: The Coral Reef Alliance

Learning Links

Finding Nemo
The official movie website.
Disney /Pixar

Did You Think Coral Was A Plant?

If coral isn't a plant, what is it? Why should we care?

Red Sea Reefs
This is a look at the coral colonies in the Red Sea. How in danger are they?
Source: Science @ NASA

Steve Turek - Coral Reef Photobank
Earth’s Coral Reefs in Danger
Coral has been surviving climatic changes for millions of years, but it is resilient enough to survive the current changes coupled with the damage that humans are inflicting?
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Threats To Coral Reefs
Learn what poses a threat to coral reefs around the globe. There are more dangers lurking out there than would would imagine. This is a very complete guide. Also, take a look at the related articles linked to this page, such as “How old are coral reefs?” and “What coral needs most.”
Source: The Coral Reef Alliance

The Coral Reef Photobank
Excellent royalty photos for you to use in your class assignments.
Source: The Coral Reef Alliance

The Coral Reef Icon Set
Just for fun. A change of scenery for your desktop.
Source: The Coral Reef Alliance

Lesson Plan - Reefs in Danger
This lesson plan addresses the damage being caused to coral reefs. The issue of coral bleaching is specifically addressed.
Source: KaAMS / NASA

© Copyright 2004 by

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