Nicola Benedetti's BBC Ten Pieces live lesson

Digital Explorer’s live science lesson

Why tune in?

Join Digital Explorer’s Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop live from Timor Leste in the Coral Triangle for an engaging experience that will allow your students to discover the importance of this unique ecosystem from the comfort of their classroom. This education event is a fantastic opportunity for schools to follow scientists and explorers on their journey as they dive into the secrets of the Coral Triangle.


The lesson

The Coral Oceans Live Lesson brings science and geography learning direct from the Tropical Coral Reef to the classroom. The expedition team in Timor Leste in the Coral Triangle will work with you and your students to:

  • Explore a new and important but unfamiliar habitat
  • Study the coral polyp, its role in the food web and how it has adapted
  • Examine the interdependence of the extraordinary coral ecosystem

1. Overview of the coral habitat

Summary – introduction to the coral reef and the living things that live in this habitat. This will involve an introduction to where we are, the idea of the coral reef as a separate ecosystem, some of the animals and other living things that we’ve found and ones that we’re glad we haven’t (eg, saltwater crocodiles). This first section will be an introductory science adventure and be based on the blogs and social media updates from the team, so schools can follow along with these. The introduction also reinforces the idea of science as a living subject, happening out in the world and we will be reporting on the work of real non-lab coat wearing field scientists.

Science KS1/2

Living things and their habitats

  • identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plant, and how they depend on each other

[non-statutory guidance: Pupils should compare animals that live in familiar habitats with animals found in less familiar habitats, for example on the seashore, in the ocean]

Geography KS1/2

Curriculum aims

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine: the Coral Triangle is to coral reefs, what the Amazon is to rainforests

2. Incredible edible polyp

Summary – a fun and tasty introduction to the coral animal (the polyp) using marshmallow, sweets, biscuits and jam. Students will find out how it has adapted to clear tropical waters and how it creates a habitat to which other animals have adapted.

Coral polyps are amazing. They have adapted to a particular niche, clear nutrient-poor tropical waters and have a special adaptation to get an energy turbo-boost that enables them to create the reef habitat. All to be revealed!

Science KS2

Evolution and inheritance

  • identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

3. Coral feeding game

Summary – we continue to examine the role of the coral polyp and its feeding behaviour with a fun activity. The coral polyp is interesting as it has two kinds of feeding habits, one during the day where it has an internalised garden to feed off and then at night when it behaves like a miniature upside down jellyfish stuck on a rock.

Science KS1/2

Animals, including humans

  • identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat
  • construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey

4. Q&A