Science KS2: Protecting stingrays in the Bahamas

Biologist Dr. Owen O’Shea, principal research scientist of The Centre for Ocean Research and Education in the Bahamas, has devoted his life to stingrays.

He is now teaching young Bahamians how to protect the rays on the island of Eleuthera.

This clip is from the BBC series, Blue Planet Live. Below are a few ideas to get you started with your class.

Teacher Notes

What makes stingrays special?

The stingrays are adapted to their environment.

The learners should be able to describe what the structure of the stingray is and how this is similar to and different from other species which live in the same habitat.

Pupils could make model stingrays using paper and identify the structure of it.

They can discuss what the barb is for and how this defends the stingray.

They can then identify other animals that have adaptations for defending themselves against predators or threats.

Can you be a Biologist?

The learners should be told about the study of living things.

They can become a biologist for a day and identify an endangered animal that they would like to find out more about.

They should find out some facts about the animals and share these to develop written and/or verbal skills.

Stingrays as an indicator species?

The stingray numbers will go down if the ocean is not as healthy.

The learners should be able to discuss and identify reasons why tourism will possibly make the ocean less healthy.

The link between tourism and the impact on the environment can be explored and the learners can articulate why changes in the habitats mean living things are threatened.

What would you research as a scientist?

The scientist in the video is trying to find out lots of information about the Stingrays to help protect them.

The learners can identify an aspect in science they would research and what they hope it would do.

They could write a job description for their role or describe their latest findings.

Why do we need to protect species?

The learners are removed from stingrays so asking them to think about the impact of the species declining is a good challenge.

They can apply their learning about habitats and food chains to a less familiar context.

The need to protect endangered species is a good context for the learners discussing the changes humans are making on the world and how plants and animals are adapted to specific environments.

The ‘Big’ Questions (with opportunities for extended writing and discussion)

Are we right to protect animals that are endangered?

Should tourism be stopped in areas where there are endangered species?

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching Science at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd level in Scotland.

More from Blue Planet Live

The effects of industrial fishing on Silky Sharks
Protecting the Mediterranean Monk Seal
The declining food supplies for South African penguins
Trashing the deep