We are the third grade team at the Hannah School in Beverly, MA, and we have had the pleasure of having Cynde McInnis and her amazing Whalemobile visit our school for many years. Cynde is truly passionate about her work with whales and educating kids about them. Since we were unable to have Cynde come to our school this year, she very graciously offered her program to us virtually. This has been the highlight of our distance learning thus far! She was able to present her screen to show videos, as well as show the kids real whale teeth, baleen and other items. Her videos and presentation were interactive and the students were engaged throughout the entire program. The third graders at our school look forward to this program every year and anticipate going inside the life size whale model. Since that was not an option for our students this year, Cynde inflated her incredible whale model in front of her house and invited all of our students and their families to come and take pictures with it. We can’t thank Cynde enough for keeping this going and we highly recommend her as a way to enhance distance learning
Good stuff, great conversation. I asked the students what stood out to them, and I got a variety of detailed answers. This is a good sign; it means the content was rich and engaging. I enjoyed it as well. Compelling. Relevant.
Love the imagery, the stats/data, maps and graphs.
(Whale and Humans: Impact of Interaction)
I want to start by thanking you for a great presentation last night. You were fun, engaging, and informative. The photos included were beautiful, and you did a wonderful job making the graphs and charts easy to follow.
(Researching Whales--a presentation for adults)
I really enjoyed hearing about not only whales but Cynde’s story as well. It’s really cool to see all of the different ways we can do things we enjoy and want to learn about in ways we have never thought of. Cynde was very open, kind, and excited. It’s always nice to see people enjoy what they are teaching, and I loved all of the stories :) (This was after seeing the S.T.E.A.M. Your Passion presentation.)
Cynde joined our group of 50 third graders for an interactive and engaging presentation about whales and conservation. She has a natural ability to draw students in and keep them interested and excited as she discusses whale anatomy, behavior, and identification strategies. She brings a plethora of experience and personal anecdotes that make the experiences especially engaging. The children especially loved listening to different whale sounds, as well as seeing her life-sized humpback whale model, named Nile. Students were able to ask questions and think critically about how they can protect these amazing creatures.
“We were unsure about adding more virtual to virtual learning but the Whalemobile show was set apart. Cynde’s upbeat and interactive show kept the students engaged, asking and answering questions. The structure of 2 days worked for us and we are hoping to have the virtual Whalemobile back at the start of the next school year!”
Many students were left with a desire to learn more about whales, their life cycles, and habits. Students were also inspired by your story of following your passion. It got them thinking about their own passions, and what decisions they can make today to help them in the pursuit of those dreams.
The children, as well as staff, were all so excited with your presentation. But the real thrill for many came when they had the opportunity to watch Nile grow to life-size before their very own eyes. Added excitement came as they slipped off their sneakers and walked around Nile as you pointed out different parts of a whale, and then again with the opportunity to actually enter deep inside her to view the blow hole, baleen, vertebra, organs and even the "poop shoot!" This amazing event was something that they not only spoke about for days; some even wrote about their experience and how it was one of the "coolest" activities they had experienced in first grade! Interestingly, when tie-dying shirts the following week for a field trip adventure...the designs on the light blue background reminded them of not only jellyfish, but "barnacles" and a "humpback whale bubble net!" Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and expertise about these wonderful mammals that can be found or seen right in the waters off the coast of our own state: Massachusetts.
Cynde and Nile visited our local Elementary School speaking to grades 2-5. Over two hundred students and teachers were completely enthralled watching Nile grow into a full life size humpback whale! I heard only positive comments from the teachers after the program. How excited their students were to hold the whale artifacts and go inside the whale and how remarkable Cynde was in dealing with and educating the children about whales. Cynde also set up several stations about whales in the library the next day. Several children from the elementary school came to the library with their younger siblings wanting to learn more! Great program for schools and libraries.
My students absolutely loved the Whalemobile! The presentation was incredibly engaging. Students not only had an exciting experience inside the life-sized replica of Nile the whale, but they also left with a significant amount of knowledge about whales and how to protect them by caring for the ocean environment. Weeks later, my students are still talking about their experience with the Whalemobile. Thank you so much Cynde for sharing your passion for whales in such a kid-friendly and educational way.
In spring of 2015, Cynde had the privilege of spending a whale watch with Nan Hauser (from the Cetacean Research and Conservation and Director of the Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre) and the crew of Channel 5's Chronicle.