How Coral Reefs Are Formed

Preview video by clicking the “play” arrow

Explore the underwater world of coral reefs. Here, in Part 1, we’ll find out how coral reefs are formed over time. Learners will be able to see how a tiny coral polyp can create structures large enough to be seen from space. They will also begin to appreciate the diversity of life that exists in coral reefs around the world.

Video length: 13:19 minutes.

Learning Resources with this Video*

Quizzes – PDF & Online

Coral Reef WHO Organizer

Coral Reef Jeopardy

A Coral Creation

Coral Reef Match the Description Vocabulary Sheet

Captured on a Coral Reef – Writing Prompt

Draw a Coral Landscape

Universal Resources

National Standards

*Links are active on Full Video page.

Classroom Ideas 

How Coral Reefs Are Formed

Cloze Practice

A cloze piece has full sentences used in the virtual field trip with blanks where students can write in the information that is missing. This task requires close listening to the trip in order to complete it.


Example: Coral reefs are the _______ type of ecosystem in the world. They’ve been around for over _____ million years.


Answers:  oldest; 240


Alternatively, you could have students create 5-10 cloze statements and they could share those with the class.  


A third alternative is to distribute the cloze worksheets before watching the video.  Students can fill them in as they watch.

Explore Vocabulary

Identify key vocabulary terms while previewing each video. Prompt students to find the meaning of each word as they watch the video. Example: What does the word polyp mean? Think about the meaning of each word as you watch this  video about How Coral Reefs Are Formed.


Create a diorama of the Rainforest.



Art and Writing

Draw a picture of a coral in its environment.

Then, write a paragraph about the coral/sponge you chose and the environment it is in.



Use Playdoh or clay to create a hard coral, soft coral, sponge, or an anemone.


Coral List

List as many of the many different types of corals and sponges as you can remember, and draw a picture of the one you like the most.


Create Quizzes

Students create a quiz based on the information presented for their peers. This can be used as a review for a test, or jigsaw class activity where students are responsible for teaching other students assigned topics

Example: using Kahoot, EdPuzzle, Google Forms

WHO Organizer

As students watch the video, have them complete an organizer that asks them to find:

Wow! One surprising fact/idea.

Huh? One question they have that the field trip didn’t answer.

Observation: One observation they had about the information contained on the field trip.


Have students research and print out different types of coral and sponges. Create flashcards with the images and have students quiz each other to classify them as hard corals, soft corals, or sponges.

To make the quiz a bit more difficult, have students challenge each other to name the actual coral or sponge.


Have students print out a map of the world and identify coral reefs around the world.


Draw a coralscape from the video you just watched



Ask students to write about their favorite type of coral, sponge, anemone, etc. on a coral reef. Ask them to describe it, and explain why it’s their favorite.



Exploring Biomes and Ecosystems

Ask students to examine the ecosystem in which they live. Do a brainstorming session in which the class comes up with all the elements of their ecosystem, and how all the elements interact. Once this is done, introduce the Coral Reef ecosystem.



Classroom Ideas for ALL Videos

Here are dozens and dozens of ideas that you can use in your classroom along with our videos!

Topics Covered In This Video

Fun facts about coral reefs

Coral reefs as an ecosystem

Coral polyp structure

Coral polyp feeding and survival needs

Hard/soft corals – definition

Hard/soft corals – examples


Fringing Reefs, Barrier Reefs, Atolls

Videos in this Series

Who Lives On a Coral Reef?

Related Videos

Amazon Rainforest (Grades 2-6)

Amazon Rainforest: People & Threats (Grades 2-6)

Amazon Rainforest (Grades 5-9)

Amazon Rainforest: People & Threats (Grades 5-9)

African Safari

Galapagos Islands

Pin It on Pinterest