There is a huge interest in homeschooling and learning about whales these days. The September 11th Terrorist attacks in New York caused many Americans to look into educating themselves on foreign affairs. Many are now interested in learning about whales, and other large marine animals. Fortunately for people interested in learning more about whales, there are a variety of free printable whale images available for use in classrooms. These images not only make great project ideas, but give many people a visual image of what it would be like to have a pet whale.
For example, if you’re homeschooling a class about whales, try using an ocean mammal biology unit study. With this unit, your students can learn about the diet of a variety of whales, how they breed and raise their pups, and how they get food. They can learn about the various types of pods and sub-pods, and how those specific pods differ from one another. An easy way to demonstrate this kind of information is to create a blue whale pod with a child as the passenger.
If you’re already homeschooling elementary students, you can use a science project for ocean biology that compares the diet of different ocean species. One excellent option is to compare the diet of bottlenose dolphins with that of red, feeder-eating dolphins. Another idea is to compare the diets of bottlenose dolphins with that of bottlenose whales. Finally, another very interesting option is to create an ocean mammal uterus chart, complete with a digital picture of a pregnant dolphin.
There are also a number of great resources available for use with this kind of project. For example, there are free printable charts of different aspects of the lives of blue whales. This gives students a visual example of what it might be like to care for a blue whale. Some other good options include a blue whale unit study and a blue whale nursery.
Finally, another useful option for learning about whales is to create a handout or poster. One example might be a basic facts sheet with some of the characteristics of each of the different species of whales. Then, each week or month you could go to a large billboard or display and hand out these fact sheets along with some other materials. For example, next time you head to the coast for the summer, you can hand out various whale sighting reports and whale facts.
Finally, many primary learners prefer to read informational text passages about animals and nature. The most common choice, of course, is to read scientific texts, but secondary language learners will often enjoy reading nonfiction (or plain common-sense text) about animals, plants, and natural phenomena. It seems that it’s very difficult to find nonfiction texts about whales that are not primarily concerned with human interaction. If you’re in a homeschool setting, try searching for “how to take care of a baby dolphin” in your local book stores rather than books with information on how to raise a humpback whale or breeding Asian seals.