Search for the Humpback Whale
Students will explore whale adaptations, behavior, migration, habitat, communication, and interactions with humans, and will then present their findings.
What You Need
- access to the school library and, if possible, a public library
- maps of North and South America and the Atlantic Ocean
- poster board
- paper for writing and for drawing
- markers, crayons, or colored pencils
What to Do
- Introduce humpback whales by having the class take turns reading aloud a short book or article about humpback whales. (Your school library should have several books or articles to choose from.)
- Divide the class into teams of two or three students. Write the following topics on the board:
- A year in the life of a humpback whale
- Humpback whale adaptations that help them live in the ocean
- How humpback whales communicate with each other
- How humpback whales and people have interacted through history
- Give the teams time to discuss topics of interest to them. Have each team select one topic to study. (Allow teams to pick a topic not on the list.) Suggest that students search for and record many kinds of information. They may: make notes about written information they find; look for photographs, drawings, and maps; find recordings of whale song (see below); and interview experts. Schedule time for students to do their research, and set deadlines for completion of each step.
- Have each team compile its findings and decide how to present them. Write the following presentation methods on the board to help focus team discussions:
- article or essay
- poster with pictures and captions
- tape recording
- Have each team prepare its report or presentation. When students are finished, have each team make a presentation to the class.