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Your Project

If your class has a partner, your partner may already have a project they want your class to do. If you have already agreed to a project with a partner, most of this section is not for you. The section you need to look at on the menu is 'Your project' – 'Partners'.

If your class does not have a project in mind, this section will help the class work out what project they want to do. 

It can take two weeks to decide on your project. 

At the conclusion of this section the class should have worked out a project that has a good chance of being completed successfully. 

Getting Started

The challenge for your class is to choose a project that has a good chance of being completed successfully. There is no point in wanting to do a project that requires a lot of money and there is little chance of obtaining the necessary finances.

Often when a partner is involved they will supply the financial resources or tools, so there are no issues about money.

The project your class will do will need to be of benefit to the environment and the local community. 

During this section organise a way of keeping records about the work you have covered.

Before the class does its investigations into possible projects, you will need to discuss with your teacher:

  • What you need to do to be assessed for your work.
  • How much time you will have each week and how many weeks you will have to get your project completed.  

Learning goals and assessment


Your class teacher will need to work out with students what the learning goals of this project will be. Each student could also have individual learning goals. The goals may be directly linked with curriculum learning outcomes or standards. Examples of some other goals are:

  • Class working in effective teams and meeting agreed timelines.
  • Individuals building their self-confidence.
  • Collective work of class produces a comprehensive project plan.
  • Student actions lead to improvements in coastal environments.
  • Students extending their sphere of influence within the school community to a wider community or even internationally. 

Download Goal Setting Tool 

How will your class teacher assess the students in the class? Students need to know how they will be assessed while doing their project. As this is a leadership program, an important aspect of assessment will be examining their improvement in working with people, including students, in a wide variety of situations. Examples of other assessment tasks can include:

  • Presentation of work as students' progress through their project.
  • Diaries.
  • Presentations by students.
  • Self-assessment tasks.
  • Submit monitoring activities. 
  • Completion of communication projects.

Approximate timeline

The kind of project that can be done will depend a lot on the time available. How many weeks do students have to complete their project? How much time per week can be allocated? 

What are the chances that time might be lost due to other schooling obligations? Would the project slow down if the teacher became ill? Can the project be extended for a couple of weeks if uncontrolled problems pop up? 


For a class that may already have a partner and a possible project with their partner. 

  • Do you already have a partner?
  • What do you know about the partner?
  • Does your partner have a project in mind?
  • How much do you know about the project they have in mind?
  • Has your school worked with the partner before?
  • How will your class work with your partner?
  • What does your school policy say about working with a partner outside your school? 
  • Who in your school's leadership group does your class need to ask for help in making certain your project remains within the school policy? 
  • What information is the class going to present to the leadership group in the school? 

Overview of process

Do you have a partner that has a project in mind? If you do, then the class will need to work out the kind of project they will do with the partner. The project will still need to be planned and meet the requirements of your school policies. 

If you don't have a partner you will need a way to choose your class project:

  1. Brainstorm ideas -
    a.  start with a brainstorm
    b.  using the brainstorm, investigate and research more ideas
    c.  complete the brainstorm.
  1. Use a variety of categories to sort the ideas into different groups.
  2. Agree as a class on a system for deciding which project the class wants to do.
  3. If appropriate approach potential partners.
  4. Make sure the project is acceptable within your school's policy.
  5. Modify your project ideas if necessary. 

Go through each of the next pages in this section if your class needs to decide on a project. 

Examples of projects

Investigate what is happening in the school and what projects have been done in the past. Consider if the class could continue with a project started previously. 

The reason for listing these ideas is to help you think of even more ideas. These ideas are not meant to be recommendations. Any projects to be done by students must be in agreement with your school leadership group and meet your school's policies. 

•    School or community stormwater pollution project. Students work on ways the school and the community can reduce stormwater pollution.
•    Pollution monitoring program with an interstate or overseas school. Two schools compare their coastal pollution problems which they then educate their community about.
•    Coastcare, school partnership. Students work with a Coastcare group helping them to communicate to the wider community the work that the group is doing to help the coastal environment and what the community can do to join in.  
•    Climate change community education. Students run a community education program that links the destruction of marine environments to climate change and explains to the community the many ways they can reduce their output of greenhouse gases. 
•    International comparison website.Students work  with an international school to find out how they learn about the coastal environment. They create a joint website that compares common and different issues. They use the website to help other schools and their local community to learn about caring for coasts.
•    School habitat projects. Students create animal habitats in their school grounds.
•    Photo surveys. A library of photographs of the local coastal area is taken using standardised photographic techniques and the location identified using GPS and maps made using Google. The images are stored for future reference so that environmental changes can be monitored. 
•    Coastal habitat restoration. Working with a Coastcare group, students take responsibility for the habitat restoration and management of a coastal area. 
•    Launch. Take responsibility for conducting a launch of an environmental event in the school or community.
•    Local festival activity. Students conduct a coastal care activity at a local festival. 

•    Responsible fishing. A community education program helps fishers to be more responsible about their recreation and disposal of rubbish and fishing lines. 
•    Environmental directory. A local environmental directory is published (probably electronic) about local environmental assistance that is available from State and Local Government, local groups, trades people and specialised sales outlets. 
•    International gossip (Chat room for students only accessible within the designated schools ). Develop a partnership with a number of schools in coastal areas both within Australia and overseas. Share issues of interest. Use the knowledge you build up with other schools to educate your local community. 
•    Home gardening manual for coastal regions. The manual provides tips about how people can manage their garden to improve their local environment.
•    Local historic trail. A trail is developed that explains the major historical features and what needs to be done to preserve their history. Students could take guided tours.  
•    Ecological conservation trail. Students develop a trail about a coastal area examining the ecology and conservation issues. Students could take guided tours.
•    Community input into coastal management. Students conduct a community meeting along with local coastal authorities with the aim of getting community involvement in coastal management. 
•    Water tank workshop. Run a community workshop with a range of experts to help the community explore a range of ways to install and use water tanks. 
•    Meet your coastal environment. Students organise an event for a group of younger children (eg. a class from a primary school) or an adult group (eg. living in a retirement village) to introduce them to the highlights and conservation values of a coastal environment. They could provide entertainment and refreshments appropriate to the audience. 
 •    Conduct statistical and repeatable surveys of marine organisms. For example each month find the first 100 shells in the same location and count the number for each species (could have several locations, the tide would need to be the same for each count). 


Take some time to brainstorm every possibility for doing a project. At this early stage no idea is a bad idea. The class wants to get every idea to compare. 

Note: Before students speak to people outside the school community, students and their teachers must make sure that the arrangements are within the school's policy. 

Step 1 – What is your school already doing? What has the school done in the past? Look at the list of ideas on the web page just before this o

Step 2 – How might the class get more ideas?

  • Read the local newspapers for the past month.
  • Ask the local conservation groups.
  • Ask the school grounds management committee.
  • Ask the local council and councillors. 
  • Do some investigating using the web, focus on local issues and what other students have done in Australia and overseas. 
  • Have a look around the area.
  • Does your school have contact with other schools, eg. international schools?

Step 3 – Make a list of any ideas that interest your class.


Try to complete this part of the brainstorm in one session. Students have had a chance to investigate and think about it. 

All ideas are of equal value at this stage. All ideas are good ideas. Resist commenting on the merits of any ideas. 

Each idea could be listed on a board or they could be written on an individual piece of paper or sticky notepad. They should also be recorded on a computer. 

As each person makes a contribution keep evaluating if the rest of the class needs to improve their respect for others. Refine the class's rules about respecting others as the brainstorm continues.  

When the brainstorm is finished, everyone must agree it is really finished. Once you get to the next stage ongoing brainstorming will be a distraction and slow everyone down. 


Step 1 – Write each idea on a piece of paper such as a large sticky notepad.

Step 2 – Use a blackboard, pinboard or wall. Place ideas into similar groups or ideas that overlap. Place the groups alongside each other. Give each group of ideas a title.

Step 3 – The projects you think can be done in the timeline place towards the top of the list. Those that will take much longer place towards the bottom of the list. Those you are not sure about, place in the middle. 

Step 4 – Any projects that you think will cost more money than you think you can get in the time, or require equipment that you can't get, move towards the bottom.

Step 5 – Any projects that you think you would not be permitted to do (eg requires the use of chainsaws, deep sea diving) move towards the bottom.

Step 6 – Any project you think the class will receive lots of help with from partners, move further up. 

As a class discuss how the ideas have been sorted. Get reasons if anyone has a different opinion. If there is not consensus, have a vote.

As a class agree on a list of the projects that seem to be the most promising.  


The class should have a list of projects that are possible for students to achieve. At the end of this part of the process the class wants to have no more than three ideas for projects. They need more than one idea for a project in case some of the ideas fall through. 

Option one – The class might already know which projects (one, two or three projects) they might like to do. 

Option two – Have a class discussion and vote on the ideas. If there are more than six ideas, have a two stage vote. After the first vote, eliminate the ideas that had the least votes so there are five ideas left. Vote again to get the last three projects. Is one of the projects preferred over the others?

Option three – Small groups are given time to present why a particular idea is worthy of their doing a project. If there are more than six ideas, have a two stage vote. After the first vote, eliminate the ideas that had the least votes so there are five ideas left. Vote again to get the last three projects. Is one of the projects preferred over the others?

Possible partners

A partner is a group, organisation or person who will work with you. 

Think through what you need to know about partners. Start with these questions for each of your possible projects:

  • Where will the project be done?
  •  Will the project be helping anyone?
  • Will you require money, equipment or other resources to do the project?
    Will you need to do the project with another group (partner) to be able to do it?
    Who might be interested in what you are doing?
    What partners can you think of? 

Permission and feedback

Note: Before students speak to people outside the school community, students and their teachers must make sure that the arrangements are within the school's policy. 

Find out:

  • What the leadership group in your school thinks of your project ideas.
  • What areas you may need to discuss with the leadership group during the planning stage.
  • What areas the leadership group will need to provide permission for, before students can start certain activities.
  • What groups outside the community need to be informed about the project?
  • Will other groups need to agree before the project can go ahead?
  • Will outside groups or organisations (including authorities) need to provide formal permission? 

Select and modify

As a class, go over the projects and the further information you found out. 

Does any one project stand out? If there is not a general consensus, allow a full discussion comparing the projects. Vote on which project the class will do.  

Once the project has been decided write a short summary of the project and ask your potential partners and the school leadership group to comment. You will need their comments very quickly, so you may wish to provide a short presentation and receive your feedback immediately. 

Once you have received your feedback, make any necessary modifications. 

Project goals

Make a list of what the students want to achieve. These are some questions to help develop a set of goals.  

How will the project help the marine environment?

How will the local community benefit from the project?

Will other communities outside the area benefit from the project?

How might a partner benefit?

How will people in the future benefit?

What will students learn by doing the project?

How will their school benefit? 

Will the project help the local economy, employment etc? 


Spend 5 minutes thinking about choosing a project and answer:

  • Why am I important to my classmates?
  • How can I do something valuable for the environment?
  • How might helping other people help me?

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