Aquatic Mammals (Whales & Dolphins)
Today we studied about some mammals that live in the water such as whales and dolphins.
Read: Pages 10-13 & 38-41 in Oceans by Johanna Rizzo.
Discuss: Whales are mammals that live in the water, not fish. They are warm-blooded and breathe air through lungs, they give birth to live young who feed on the mother’s milk. They even have hair, but very little. There are two kinds of whales, the toothed whales and the baleen whales. Dolphins, belugas, and sperm whales are examples of toothed whales. Toothed whales have sharp teeth to hunt and eat other sea life. Toothed whales also send out high-pitched clicks and sense them as they bounce back off objects. Some examples of baleen whales are the blue whale, finback, and gray whale. Instead of teeth baleen whales have fringed plates that hand down from the roof of their mouth. Baleen whales eat tiny plants and animals called plankton. The plankton gets trapped in their mouths with their baleen. All whale swim by moving their tails up and down, not left to right like fish do.
Watch: Dolphin Blowing Bubbles
Kinds of Whales
I printed out the Kinds of Whales activity for J to review the two kinds of whales.
How Deep do they Dive?
J did the How Deep do they Dive? chart on pages 24-26 of this free download.
Killer Whale Craft
Discuss: The Orca is commonly known as the Killer Whale. It is a toothed whale and the largest member of the dolphin family. Orcas live in close families called pods.
Black and White Construction Paper
- Cut out a circle from black paper, then cut off a little curved part from the bottom.
- Cut that curved part in half, so you have flippers.
- Cut the same size circle from white paper and cut it in half.
- Make a dorsal fin with the black paper.
- First glue the white semicircle onto the back side of black circle. The white should go on the bottom part where you cut off the flippers from.
- Also on the back glue on the dorsal fin to the top and the flippers to the sides.
- Glue on googly eyes (as far apart as possible) and a red string mouth.
- Trim the edges of the yarn.
Drawing a Whale
J drew a Whale and a Dolphin on pages 24 and 8 from It’s Fun to Draw Sea Creatures by Mark Bergin.
Measure a Blue Whale
The Blue Whale is the biggest whale and the biggest animal on Earth. It is also the loudest animal on Earth; it can be even louder than a jet plane. The Blue Whale breathes through 2 blowholes that blow a stream of water 40-50 feet above the water. Blue Whales live near the surface of oceans world wide in groups called pods. The Blue Whale faces extinction. These whales eat krill, plankton, and small fish. Instead of teeth the Blue Whale has comb-like plates of baleen that keep it’s food in it’s mouth.
- One child stand at the starting point and the other child measure 10 feet at a time.
- A Blue Whale it 94-100 feet long.
- The distance between both children is the size of the Blue Whale.
I printed out the Comparing Lengths activity to learn how long different types of whales are. Dolphin Family
I printed out the Dolphin Family activity to learn what each dolphin family member is called.
I printed out the Will Work for Fish activity to talk about how smart dolphins are and learn what they can be trained to do. J liked that they have been trained by the military to locate hidden explosives in the ocean.
Dolphins are Mammals
I printed out the free Bottle-nosed Dolphin sheet for J to color and learn more about dolphins.
Shark vs. Whale Venn Diagram
- 2 hoola hoops
- note cards
- Write one trait on each note card.
- Write “shark” one one note card and “whale” on one.
- Place the hoola hoops on the floor overlapping each other to form a Venn Diagram.
- Place the “shark” note card in one hoola hoop and the “whale” note card in the other.
- Have the child place each of the trait cards in the appropriate hoops.
- Some hair on skin
- Breathe with lungs
- Breathe with gills
- Live in water
- Have fins
- Scaly skin
- Move tail left and right
- Move tail up an down
- Warm blooded
- Cold blooded
- Lay eggs
- Nurse babies
- Have a backbone
- Care for young
- Are mammals
- Cartilage only
While we were at the coast we took a short whale watching trip. We saw a Blue Whale and a small pod of Dolphins. The boys loved it.
Ocean Unit Study