Activity for ‘The Stuck There Forever Boat’

The Stuck There Forever Boat

by Gillian Torckler

This story was inspired by the Tuvaluan people, whose low-lying island nation is under threat due to the rising sea levels associated with global warming. This story highlights the human dimension of the effects of global warming on families, as we read of Tama and his Nanny coming to grips with the sad possibility of having to leave their cherished island to find a new home elsewhere.

The book has been beautifully illustrated in watercolours by Bruce Potter.

This book was nominated for its beautiful illustrations, as well as being “ … a nicely told story …of rising sea levels and global warming. And… it shows in a very simple way some of the passion, feeling for their lands …” (Rob).

Activity: THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE (Science/ Social Sciences)

Curriculum Level

2 & 3 (see curriculum links at the end of the activity)

NZC Key Competencies

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols and text
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing
  • managing self


 In the back of this book, there is an explanation about how rising sea levels are a very real threat for some Pacific Islands, especially the island of Tuvalu, on which this story is based. This story could be the starting point for some research into global warming at its effects, and what can be done to help slow down its progress.

1. Before reading the story, ask the students:

  • what is global warming?
  • what are some of the effects of global warming that can be seen around the world?

Discuss in groups and then as a class, sharing ideas.

2. Explain that you are going to read a story now which will give us an example of how global warming is affecting people in the Pacific Islands, because of rising sea levels. Tell them that at the end of reading, you want them to be able to name some of the signs of rising sea levels.

3. Read together.

4. After reading, talk with a partner to identify signs there were in the story that indicated rising sea levels.

  • coral is turning white – dying
  • they are running out of crabs and fish to eat
  • sea water is coming up from the ground – this is turning the soil white and ruining Nanny’s taro plantation
  • the  “stuck there forever” boat appears to be sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean

5. Share back as a class, and list signs on the board.

Ask students: how is this affecting daily life for the people who live on this Pacfic Island?

They are running out of food to eat – fish as well as vegetables. Sea life is dying. Soon their houses will be under water.

6. Establish that rising sea levels (and global warming in general) is a very real thing for many cultures around the world.

So what can we do to help?

Share initial thoughts and ideas as a class. You may like to record these up on the board, to refer back to later, as well as providing a starting point for students’ own research.

7. Organise students into 5 groups. Each group should go away and explore one of the following resources. They want to find out WHAT we can do to help slow down global warming:


8. Share back findings with the class. Look again at initial list on the board, identifying ways that we might be able to slow down global warming. Add or delete suggestions as necessary.

9. Students could then choose one to design a poster about. Display posters around school to educate others about the effects of global warming, and what can be done to help.


  • paper and felts for posters
  • Pou and Miri Tackle Climate Change by Dom Sansom
  • internet access
  • paper for note making

Curriculum Links

 SciencePlanet Earth and Beyond

  • explore and describe natural features and resources (Level 2)
  • describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human actions (Level 2)
  • appreciate that water, air, rocks and soil, and life forms make up our planet and recognize that these are also Earth’s resources (Level 3)
  • investigate the water cycle and its effects on climate, landforms and life (Level 3)

Living World

  • explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human-induced (Level 3)

Social Sciences

  • understand how time and change affect people’s lives (Level 2)
  • understand how places influence people and people influence places (Level 2)
  • understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources (Level 3)

Links to other PPBC books

Pou and Miri Tackle Climate Change by Dom Sansom– this book also deals with climate change global warming

Other Ideas

  • Create a piece of artwork which shows a Pacific Island land or sea scene (Visual Art)
  • Carry out a research project into Pacific Island marine life (Science)