Search for the Humpback Whale

Science/Language Arts

Students will explore whale adaptations, behavior, migration, habitat, communication, and interactions with humans, and will then present their findings.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. 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.)
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
    • book
    • poster with pictures and captions
    • map
    • tape recording
  5. Have each team prepare its report or presentation. When students are finished, have each team make a presentation to the class.