Lesson plan


Students touch real whale bones, and learn about blue whales
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Classification of Living Things, Biodiversity (1, 3)
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
Activities in this lesson

What are these bones? Who do they belong to? They are big! They are whale bones. (show blue whale vertebrae, grey adn right whale ribs and ear, sperm whale tooth, baleen)

If the individual bones are this big, how big is a whale?
Whales are bigger than us. Show the relative sizes of a person and an orca.
Some whales are very big. The museum I come from has a skeleton of a blue whale.
Is it bigger than us? Is it bigger than an elephant? Is it bigger than a dinosaur? It is the biggest animal that ever lived. (Show relative sizes of these animals).

Touch these bones. Are they heavy? What do they feel like? What do they smell like? (Show many bones that can be handled).

Where are your bones? Can you find your skull, vertebrae, teeth, ribs (same bones as the animal bones they are touching and seeing).
Show flipper X-ray and look at their own hand.

These bones have been cut so you can make prints with them.

How do you think whales talk?
Listen to blue whale song.
What are they saying?
Can you sing their song?

You have learned a lot about the blue whale and other whales: how big it is, what it's bones inside are like, and how it talks.
Read Big Blue Whale.


This lesson uses whale bones from a museum collection.
See evolution binder for untested lesson plans for grades 1-3.

Grades taught
Gr K