Life below water

Theatre forum method

After 2-4 interventions, a discussion takes place on what happened and what suggestions were made. Then discuss what could/should happen.

Personal diary method

  1. Individually, ideally over a few days, each student describes his or her own relationship to marine life and which of their actions might have an impact on life below water and what he or she would like to change in his or her practice (professional or private, individually and/or collectively)
  2. In pairs, each person presents some elements of the reflection to their partner
  3. As a whole class, students present key reflections of their partner.
  4. Discuss things that were presented and share thoughts and discuss implications

Inquiry method

  1. Collect a variety of documents that relate to (un)sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources from different perspectives.
  2. Make a poster that presents some ideas on the issue separating fact from opinion and assumption.

Organise an action in the community:

  1. Identifying the needs: Students make micro-interviews asking people a) whether they know about issues related to life below water b) what they think about it c) if they know of possible measures taken at a local and/or international level to solve existing problems. They could ask
    • a) in the school (e.g. housekeeper, director, teachers or other students…, adding questions on measures taken regarding life below water in the school (e.g. where does the sewage water go, how are micro-pollutants treated in the chemistry lab, etc.)
    • b) local politicians, adding questions on how they manage this issue
    • c) on the street on life under water in the area and/or worldwide and
    • d) some experts on life under water in the area and/or worldwide.

    The aim would be to identify what points the public needs more information about.
  2. Choosing a measure relating to the needs: After having shared an overview of what knowledge people in the community have and don’t have, in groups students think of possible ways to enhance people’s attentiveness to the issues related to life under water. They present them to the rest of the group and the class chooses a set of measures that could realistically be implemented by the class (e.g. organise a conference or film for the school and the community, write to the politicians with possible measures they could take, make a radio broadcast or a poster exhibition, have a stand in a market, etc.)
  3. The class implements the measure.

At the end of the process, discuss what worked well and what didn’t, what everybody has learnt and how collective action works.

Case study method

From a selection of resources:
In groups, students:

  1. study issues related to bluefin tuna cases
  2. Imagine innovations (technological, social, economic, etc.) to preserve this species.
  3. Present the results obtained and ideas for preservation in the form of an exhibition e.g. using posters, photos, maps

Role-play method

Form four groups of students. Each group has a selection of people:

  1. Representatives of an environmental NGO
  2. Representatives of political authorities (State or regional)
  3. Representatives of a fishermen’s association
  4. Representatives of consumers
  5. Representatives of the scientific world (biologists, geographers, historians)
  6. Observer.


  1. Everyone prepares the arguments to defend their interests in particular area of sea.
  2. Role-play a meeting between the representative from each group.
  3. Observer summarise main arguments and points made from their group meeting
  4. In plenary make a list of arguments and points made by each set of representatives
  5. In plenary discuss ways of finding a sustainable compromise between the various stakeholders.

Photo-language and creative writing method: Learners imagine and then learn about different stakeholder perspectives on marine biodiversity.

  1. A set of pictures representing various aspects of life below water (including human and non-human ones such as fish) are spread on a table. Each learner picks one picture that touches him/her.
  2. Learners explain why they have chosen their picture, and what link they can make with life under water.
  3. Each learner then writes a very short story as if he/she was the aspect represented on the picture attempting to make its perspective regarding life under water explicit (eg. “As a fish, I particularly appreciate in …/As a commercial fisherman I…”).
  4. Each learner adds one sentence regarding what a sustainability issue (e.g. climate change) could mean for them (eg. “As a coral reef I fear not being able to adapt to rising water temperatures”)
  5. The different stories are read aloud in front of the whole group, and different sets of underlying values are made explicit. A discussion is held on which aspects are in favour or not of sustainable management of the common good “life below water”.
  6. The discussion can then be related to texts presenting “real” perspectives on the issue of various stakeholders/scientific knowledge on life below water, including all these aspects.

Act as if your life was depending on life under water through the method of “image theatre”.

  1. A ‘photograph’ of a scene in which various submarine animals and plants as well as humans is created by a group of learners. The scene represents a situation where there is overexploitation of natural resources by big fisheries which impact on the traditional fisherfolk and their families, as well as the animals and plants represented. Only those acting know what the scene is, they stay in place without moving and the rest of the group has to find out what the situation is about.
  2. A student not involved goes to one of the people acting (anyone except the big fishery representative) and asks him/her how they feel being in this situation.
  3. The student then takes the place of that person in the picture, reformulates how his/her predecessor felt and acts it.
  4. The process can be repeated a few times with other stakeholders, before asking the big fishery representative how he/she feels.

A second image can then be set up with a more sustainable situation, and the process can start again.

Debate impact of unsustainable use of marine resources. Examples:

  1. From a selection of resources, students discuss the following question: “What are the risks associated with the unsustainable use of marine resources?” (Debate opinions considering different stakeholders and perspectives)
  2. From a selection of resources based on a particular issue, students discuss the following question: What measures are needed to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources? (Consensus debate to find a way forward)
  3. From a selection of resources presenting an issue and a solution, students discuss the following question: How could the solution be implemented? (Action-oriented debate to agree steps).
  1. The students receive a set of pictures representing the beauty of life under water. In groups they discuss what they like about it.
  2. Each group then receives a picture representing one problem related to life under water (e.g. overfishing, plastic pollution, modification of water temperatures and thus marine ecosystems, oil spill, nitrate pollution, etc.). The students discuss what the problem is and a) how it impacts on them and their feelings, b) who/what it might impact (including non-human beings).
  3. The groups receive a set of measures that are undertaken to solve some problems related to life below water (all groups have the same set, e.g. water treatment plants, organic agriculture, environmental protection laws and officers, tax incentives, beach clean-ups). Amongst the set of suggested solutions, students in groups choose the ones that could help improve the situation represented on their picture and think of other solutions if possible.
  4. In plenary, the solutions are then classified (e.g. technical/governance/social/economic and/or individual/collective). The interaction between different kinds of solutions is discussed.