Cetacean Week

Last week we continued our polar animal study.  We learned about cetaceans (whales and dolphins), focusing on the orca, beluga and narwhal.  My kids had a “whale” of a time with this!  They learned so much about their adaptations.


First, we learned some vocabulary and some characteristics of cetaceans.

whale and dolphin vocabulary cards

whale and dolphin picture vocabulary cards

I like to use pic file cards to help show what some of the vocabulary words mean.  My students love to look through these, so I put them on a ring and hang them near our discovery area.

Next, we compared baleen and toothed whales.  I didn’t spend too much time on baleen whales, because we were focusing on three specific whales and they are all toothed whales.  We filled out our comparison chart.

comparing polar animals

Whale Art

To finish off our week of whales, we made orcas with a northern lights background.  I found some ideas on Pinterest and decided combine them and this is what we did.  First, we did an orca direct draw and then colored it with oil pastels.

orca chalk art

Next, we took blue paper and colored chalk, and made a northern lights background on the top half of the paper.  My intent was to make it look like the orca was jumping out of the water.  I should have had them made a water line, or add some white ice in the background to separate the water and sky…next time!  They still turned out cute.

You can find some of these resources in my Whales and Dolphins nonfiction unit.  Grab it from my Teacher Bag Store or TPT.

Whales and Dolphins nonfiction unit

Next week we move onto the snowy owl.  It should be another fun week!



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