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Super Science @ Your Library
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Wet & Wild
Whales

 

Objective:

Children will learn all about whales through stories, informational text and hands-on science activities.
Grade Level: K-2

 

Books:

Karas, G. Brian
Atlantic
Explore what the Atlantic Ocean is, how far it stretches, how the moon affects it, and other characteristics as described by the ocean itself.
 
Barnett, Marc
Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem
When Billy Twitters' mother follows through on her threat to buy him a blue whale if he refuses to obey, he finds himself the owner of an enormous pet that he must take with him everywhere, which does not make him popular at school.
 
Peck, Jan
Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea
by Jan Peck A child explores the treasures of the deep blue sea from the safety of a bathtub.
 
Berger, Melvin and Gilda
Do Whales Have Belly Buttons?
Provides answers to such questions about various species of whales and dolphins as "Do all whales have teeth?", "How long do most whales live?", "Why do dolphins whistle?", and "Can dolphins save humans?"
 
Castaldo, Nancy F.
Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9
Includes games, activities and experiments related to the science of the oceans.
 
McLimans, David
Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers
Using animal-shaped numbers from 1 to 10 and back again, McLimans introduces various marine creatures and their survival status.
 
 

Activities:

How Baleen Works

You can demonstrate the difference between whales that have teeth and whales that have baleen. You will need combs, toothbrushes, black pepper and a bowl filled with water. Baleen whales have bristles for teeth, their teeth filter across the surface of the ocean for feeding. Sprinkle the black pepper into the bowl of water. Have children dip the combs into the water. Combs (represent toothed whales) do not collect enough pepper for a full meal. Now, dip the toothbrush into the water. This will demonstrate how baleen whales are able to eat.

Blubber Glove

How do whales stay warm in cold places? Whales do not have fur like many mammals and can't wear clothes like we do. But whales have adapted to stay warm even in the coldest waters of the Arctic and Antarctic oceans.

Fill a Ziploc bag about halfway with Crisco. Layer a second Ziploc bag inside. Put your hand inside to squish the Crisco around you whole hand, add more if needed. Fill a bowl with water and ice. Have a child place their hand in the Ziploc bag and into the bowl of ice water. The child's hand should stay warm and protected by the layer of fat.

 

Vocabulary:

Baleen: a horny material from the upper jaws of certain whales.

Blubber: The thick layer of fat between the skin and the muscle layers of whales and other marine mammals.

Echolocation: sensory system in certain animals, such as bats and dolphins, in which high-pitched sounds are emitted and their echoes interpreted to determine the direction and distance of objects.

Migrate: To change location periodically, especially by moving seasonally from one region to another.

Plankton: The collection of small or microscopic organisms, including algae and protozoans, that float or drift in great numbers in fresh or salt water, especially at or near the surface.

 

Additional Resources: