Friday, December 17, 2010

Joy School - Whales

It was a 'whale' of a good time when we started our new Joy School unit for December: The Ocean. I was the first one to host this month, and my unit was Whales.

Lesson: The first thing I wanted to cover was the differences between whales and fish. It can be confusing for little kids to understand that even though they have fins, live in the ocean, and swim, they are not, in fact, a fish. We talked about lungs, blow holes, the position of their tail fins, giving birth to live young, nursing their babies, and skin vs scales.

Once they understood what made whales different, we began to talk about the two types of whales: Baleen and Toothed.

We looked at this chart to see how big whales really are. The biggest whale is bigger than the biggest dinosaur! We also learned about their diets, and how they get their food.

Video Clip: We watched a couple of different videos. The first one was about the humpback and it's baby, which was very interesting, and the kids liked seeing the baby whales.

Depending on how you are classifying them, dolphins can be called a type of small whale. So we also watched this clip of dolphins hydroplaning to catch fish in shallow water.

Singing Time: We sang "I'm a Big Whale" to the tune of Clementine. Lyrics: "I am swimming, I am swimming,I am swimming in the sea.I'm a humpback, I am swimming in the sea. I am singing , I am singing,I am singing in the sea.I'm a big whale and I'm singing,I am singing in the sea.I am spouting, I am spouting,I am spouting in the sea.I'm a big whale and I'm spouting,I am spouting in the sea."

Our other song was my favourite Raffi song from my childhood, Baby Beluga

Craft Time: I found this mixed up whale puzzle, and the kids got to colour it, cut out the squares, and then glue them in the right order.

Story Time: I found three whale storybooks at our library:

Science Time: I did a demonstration to illustrate how Baleen whales could catch krill, even though they don't have teeth and krill are so very small.

I filled my largest mixing bowl with water to be the ocean. Then I sprinkled in parsley flakes to be my krill. They are tiny and small. We tried picking them out of the water one by one with our fingers. It was too hard, and we couldn't get enough of them. Then we tried using a comb (baleen whales have comb-like 'teeth' they use to catch the krill). Using our comb, we could easily catch lots of the parsley in one sweep. This worked out really well, and I think helped them understand baleen whales more clearly.
Art Time: We made tissue paper whales. First I drew a very basic whale shape on white paper for each child.

Then they took blue tissue squares and using a watered down white glue solution, they painted the papers with adhesive.

They repeated square by square until the shape was covered. There was lots of wet glue on this project, so we actually had to let it dry over night.

In the morning, we cut out the shape, drew on a smile, and added a googly eye. Cute, eh?
Wiggle Time: Our wiggle time game was a variation on duck, duck, goose, where we played fish, fish, Whale!

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