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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 17 minutes, 32 seconds, CC
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, Oceania



Adaptation - Coral Reefs of Vanuatu

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  • This video examines the challenge of climate change in Vanuatu, specifically the adaptations of citizens to the rapid decline of coral reefs.
  • One of the most severe issues is the overwhelming increase of crown-of-thorns sea stars, which are devastating the coral reefs due to their proliferation and ingestion of the coral.
  • Students will learn about several innovative solutions to the dilemma of crown-of-thorns, especially using them as food for sea life and as compost for plant life. They can also discuss the geographic implications and Sustainable Development Goals' connections to the problem and solution.
Teaching Tips


  • The video portrays several Indigenous people as local environmental heroes for their efforts to rid the area of crown-of-thorns sea stars and create coral gardens designed to replenish diminishing coral reefs.
  • Although centered on survival and environmental hazards, the video ends by giving hope for the future.
  • Teachers can easily share the video in a Google Classroom, via social media, or as a link provided to students learning virtually.
  • The resource includes support questions, activities, and a printable world map.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There are times when the closed-captioning overlaps another version of closed-captioning embedded in the video itself.
  • Students should have prior knowledge of both climate change and global warming.
  • Teachers and students will need internet access.
  • There is a lesson plan available for this Adaptation Series.


  • The video discusses the use of organic compost in food gardens, so science teachers may wish to have a class discussion defining organic compost and researching its benefits.
  • People in the video use scuba diving as a beneficial way to navigate the underwater world of the coral reef, so teachers can have students investigate how long a person can stay submerged with one tank of oxygen.
  • English teachers can have students research coral reefs and the dangers they face due to climate change.
  • This video may be a comforting follow-up to a lesson or reading about coral bleaching, as it shows coral regeneration.
Scientist Notes
This video resource from PBS introduces students to locals responding to the sea star-caused destruction of coral reefs in the Melanesian island nation of Vanuatu. This film is in the classic documentary style and emphasizes personal accounts and interviews rather than hard science. The video does give a clear picture of how people adapt to climate change impacts and could serve as a broad introduction to climate change adaptation. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • SL.PE.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
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