For the 2020 school year, The Whalemobile expanded our programming to make it more flexible and aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Read on to learn more! (Because of Covid-19, any of these programs can be modified for a "virtual experience".)
Let's be real--there is something incredible about going inside a life-sized inflatable whale. Kids learn best while doing. Put those together, and this is an experience they remember forever.
We love the child-like wonder on the faces of middle school students when they go inside the whale! While it might seem like a program just for elementary age students, being inside the whales initiates great discussions with this age group as well!
While we will never discourage anyone from going inside the whale, high school programs are typically assembly based. But being honest, they will at least want to peak inside!
All programs begin with an assembly where students are familiarized with whales off the Coast of New England. Depending on the grades she is seeing, Cynde will introduce the students to topics such as how whales eat, where they go, what sounds they make, and how we tell individuals apart. The assembly ends with Nile coming to life (inflating) in front of the kids! (Please allow 45 minutes for this.)
Next, each class (up to 25 students) comes for 40 minutes. The first 20 minutes, they go inside Nile. Students will get to touch baleen, bones and teeth from real whales! Here they have the opportunity to ask Cynde anything on their minds (within reason of course!!)
After going in the whale, students have another breakout session of your choice. Please choose from the list below.
Marine Debris (K-5th)
Students will learn how long it takes every day products to biodegrade. We will discuss why plastic is such an problem for our oceans and introduce microplastics. We will end with, how we can reduce, reuse and recycle to help our planet! This presentation is what has been done in the past and is adjusted for the grade level. This activity can also be done by the teacher. Please ask for resources!
Do it, Do it (K-2nd)
Students will compare external characteristics of whales to humans. They will understand how whales use their flippers and tails by pretending to be whales themselves! (K-LS1-1)
Baleen vs. Teeth (2nd-4th)
Students will understand that baleen and teeth (two different structures in their mouth) determine how a species will feed, interact and communicate. (3-LS2-1 )
Form and Function (2nd-4th)
Students will explore the outside of the whale and discuss how their body shape, blowhole location, flippers, tail, eyes help them survive. (4 LS1-1)
Are You Interested in Becoming a Marine Biologist? (2nd +)
Humpback whales are individually identified by the patterns on the underside of their tails. Students become researchers: they categorize and match humpback whale tails and learn how the whales got their names.
Food Webs (3rd-5th)
Students will construct an ocean food web and discuss where plankton live in the water column, where they get nutrients (whale poop) and how energy flows through the food web. (5-PS3-1)
These programs begin with a 30-minute assembly introducing the students to whales. Where are they found? How do they eat? How do scientists identify and study them? These questions pique the curiosity of middle schoolers. Nile comes to life at the end of the assembly.
Afterwards, each class (up to 25 students) will come back for a 40 minute experience. 20 minutes going INSIDE the whale and 20 minutes focusing on marine debris and microplastics.
The human impacts presentation will take place in a classroom. Topics that are covered are how whales and humans use the ocean, when overlap occurs in time and space, and how are we impacting whales. Students will brainstorm and explore solutions to some of the bigger threats facing whales today.
QUESTION AND ANSWER
Introducing or concluding a unit? Bring in an expert to answer the students' questions.
It may sound silly, but some of the best presentations are sitting with students in a classroom and having a conversation about ocean issues that is student led. Middle school students have great questions about whales. If you are interested in having an expert come in for a Q & A session with your students, this is perfect. We will use videos and images to help answer the students’ questions. This can also be done over Zoom or Skype.
High school programs are typically assembly-based. Each one will last 45 minutes allowing up to 15 minutes for questions. If there is space and time, the whale can be inflated at the end of the assembly. Please choose from the list of assemblies below. If you are interested in having your high school students go inside the whale, we can provide provide programming for that. Please contact us for more information.
In this 45-60 minute presentation, Cynde will share her story about how she took her childhood passion for whales and made it her career. She will introduce students to whales and how they are researched today illustrating that you can take many different roads to find the career that you are looking for. Science, technology, engineering/education, art and math are all critically important disciplines when addressing any topic—especially related to conservation. She will finish by sharing how this childhood passion, that many classmates of hers made fun of, led to a Guinness World Record!
Did you know that whaling techniques of old are currently used to disentangle whales. This program discusses the interaction between whales and fisheries: problematic fishing gear, rescue strategies, and current solutions to this problem.
Focusing on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, this presentation discusses how technology has advanced our understanding of whale behavior.
Whales and humans both face similar health threats. This presentation discusses how nutrition, lifestyle, chemicals and politics contribute to the health of humans and whales.
Are your students talking about anatomy? Fish and squid dissections are a great hands-on way to compare and contrast anatomy or simply explore another species.