Unit 7: Science Connection

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Rescuers Work to Save Beached Whales

On January 8, 2003, rescue workers tried to help save pilot whales in trouble. Pilot whales are actually members of the dolphin family. The whales were stranded on a beach off the coast of New Zealand. New Zealand is an island in the Pacific Ocean.

It is not uncommon for a large pod, or group, of pilot whales to get stranded. They are highly social animals that stay close together. “The value of sticking close together at times brings the risk of beaching. When one whale beaches, the other whales may follow,” said scientist Michael Moore.

Sadly, 120 whales died on the beach. But volunteers were able to rescue 39 of the whales. The rescuers poured cool water on the whales to protect them from the heat. They helped push the huge mammals back into the water. Then small boats led the pilot whales back to sea.

Word Wise

To save from danger: The fireman rescued the kitten from a tree.

Left in a difficult or helpless situation: I dreamt that I had been stranded on a deserted island.

Living together in groups: Ants and bees are social insects: they live and work in large colonies.

When a whale becomes trapped on a beach.

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Make a glossary for the article. Choose ten words and find their definitions in a dictionary. Write the words and their definitions on a piece of paper. Use each word in a sentence, and draw pictures to go with some of the definitions. You may include the words that have already been defined for you.

Data Hunt

According to the article, 120 whales died on the beach. Rescuers saved 39 whales.

  • How many whales were stranded on the beach altogether?
  • How many of the whales were saved? Write your answer as a fraction.
  • How many of the whales were not saved? Write your answer as a fraction.
  • Were more whales saved than not saved? Explain.