Coral Sea Dreaming Awaken, directed by David Hannan, is appropriate for viewing in a middle or high school classroom. At 84 minutes, however, it is too long to view in a single classroom showing. The DVD includes all branches of sea life, from the corals to sharks and rays. The beginning has a scene selection menu. You can also choose the segment you wish to watch, which is an important feature because you can cover from simple animals to complex vertebrates if you so choose.
Used in an ecology unit, Coral Sea Dreaming Awaken will enhance students’ understanding of the importance of the reef to other sea creatures and all of the different types of life in the oceans. But the biodiversity of the coral reefs has changed over the past 65 million years. They may look mighty, but the corals themselves are very sensitive to changes in the oceans. The rising sea levels, change in temperature, and acid rain along with the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are killing the corals.
The DVD shows corals reproducing, a scene which can be used to show the students invertebrate reproduction. Then the importance of coral reefs is developed. As the corals die, they become the sand that forms the beaches. The narration also mentions that the corals are actually animals, living in symbiosis with algae, and how the two together produce an enormous amount of energy.
Coral Sea Dreaming Awaken presents concepts such as mutualistic symbioses, camouflage by other sea animals, predator–prey relationships, and organisms like the sea cucumber, which has no natural predators. There is also an explanation of how the reefs are declining, which is harming the sea life that depends on them for survival. In fact, 70% of the reefs have been destroyed, which has eliminated most species of sea turtles.
I think students will enjoy Coral Sea Dreaming Awaken, but I recommend that the teacher focus students’ attention by asking questions and show only a section or two at a time.
ROBERTA BATORSKY, an experienced high school and college biology teacher, is adjunct faculty at Rowan University. Roberta has a B.S. and an M.S. in biology. Her address is 25 Hinkle Drive, Bordentown, NJ 08505; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Roberta welcomes submissions of classroom media for review in ABT.