What it is: The stories in our 3rd grade reading curriculum are all about whales this week. I found this great interactive about Whales put together by the Australian Government Department of the Environment for the students to explore. In the Kids Interactive-Whales, students board the Discovery where they can explore 5 different rooms including the science lab, the research center, the office, the library, and the bridge. Each room has an “expert” that will help the students as they explore the room. As students explore each room, they can take notes by saving text to a clipboard. In the research center, students learn about whale migration, the effects of whale hunting, watch video footage of whales, take an up close view of whale pictures, learn about whale sounds, and even report a whale sighting. On the bridge, students will learn about the rules for viewing whales from land, listen to sounds that different whales make, learn about sonar, steer the boat, learn about the whales that live in Australian waters, learn the rules about watching whales from a boat, and learn the best time to go whale watching. In the underwater library, students will use the database to look up facts about whales (they can take notes on their clipboard), use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar terms, learn about the history of whaling, see how whale populations have suffered, and see pictures of whales that can be used in a research project. In the office, students can watch whales through a portal, read about Australian whale preservation, read a brochure, and view a timeline of how whaling activities have changed throughout the years. The science lab is the last room on the Discovery. Here, students can learn about what whales eat, take a closer look at the anatomy of whales, play a game to practice identifying whales, find out how whales are important to the ecosystem, learn about the difference between whales and dolphins, learn about the research that scientists do, and take a closer look at whale statistics.
How to integrate Kids Interactive- Whales into the classroom: Our 3rd grade students study whales every year in both reading and science. This is an excellent interactive to send kids through to help them build background knowledge about whales for future reading or study. This is also a great place for students to begin a research project about whales. Students can save notes to a virtual clipboard as they learn and explore each room. The clipboard can be printed out and used as research notes. The interactive is packed full of good information and activities. Set up your room so that as students file into the room, they feel like they are boarding the Discovery ship. Choose students to act as tour guides for each of the 5 rooms. Using a projector or interactive whiteboard, have the tour guides lead the class through each room. Students who are at their seats can take notes about whales and ask the tour guides questions. If you have access to a computer lab setting, students can explore the site individually. Create a guide of things to search for as they complete their tour, make it a scavenger hunt for information.
Tips: As an extension activity, encourage students to learn about whaling practices and preservation in their own country.
Leave a comment and share how you are using Kids Interactive-Whales in your classroom.