Mrs. Madden's Second Grade Class
Brushy Creek Elementary School
Taylors, South Carolina

During our study of mammals, we learned that there are some mammals that live in the ocean.  This began our investigation into the lives of whales.  We began by reading many books about whales (see our book list at the bottom of the page).  While we read about whales, we found that there are many different kinds of whales.  We decided to work in small groups of 2-3 to learn more about the various species.  Each group was assigned one of the following whales:  Gray, Bowhead, Right, Humpback, Narwhal, Orca, Sperm, Beluga, and Minke.  The small groups used resources such as books and Internet sites to find information on their assigned whales.  Our favorite Internet resource was Zoom Whales.  After reading about their whales, students drew pictures and wrote reports about their assigned whales to share with the class.   

The Humpback Whale

The Humpback whale is a baleen whale.  The live in pods.  They also sing amazing songs.  They live in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.  They spyhop.  Spyhopping is when they pop their heads out of the water and look around.  They can also dive for up to 30 minutes.

 By Carly


The Gray Whale

A Gray whale is a baleen whale.  The gray whale can grow up to 45-50 feet long.  The gray whale weighs about 36 tons.  The female whales are larger than the male whales.  The gray whale is a bottom feeder.  They live off of their thick layer of blubber.  They do not have a dorsal fin.  They have two broad flippers.  They are carnivores.  They live in small pods of three whales.

By Justin


Sperm Whales

Sperm whales are toothed whales.  They have one single blowhole.  The blowhole is shaped like an "s" and is about 20 inches long!  A sperm whale's brain weighs 20 pounds!!  They have the largest brains of any type of animal! 
Sperm whales produce a dark, waxy substance that may help to protect them from the stings of giant squids they eat.  The fantasy Moby Dick was a Sperm whale.

By Anna


Right Whales

The Right whale is near extinction because people keep killing them for skin and meat, or pollution, oil spills, and tangle ups kill them.  Right whales are skimmers.  This means they are filter feeders that swim slowly with their mouths open, constantly eating.  Right whales are actually baleen whales.  Baleen is a type of bristle kind of like straw.

By Jordan


Beluga Whales

The Belugas live in frigid Arctic and sub-Arctic waters.  They have a small beak, tiny eyes, thick layers of blubber, and one blowhole.  The Beluga whale grows to be about 15 feet long.  They can weigh up to about 3,300 pounds.  It has no dorsal fin.  Toothed whales have 34 teeth.  They swim about 2-6 mph.  They are very slow swimmers.

By Standish


While learning about the many species of whales, we learned that there were many similarities and differences between them.  This led us to compare and contrast the different kinds of whales using Venn Diagrams.  We used Kidspiration software for our diagrams.

Finally, our class decided to help make a difference in the fight to protect endangered whales.  We visited the Adopt-A-Whale site and decided to adopt Icarus.  He was first spotted in 1982 as a young whale.  He appears to have survived an entanglement that deformed his tail.  We talked about how to raise money to adopt Icarus and decided to turn our whale research into T-SEARCH!  Our teacher put our whale drawings and whale research onto t-shirts using transfers.  These t-shirts were available for our parents to buy for a small cost.  We love wearing our research.  It lets everyone else learn about whales too!

Text on back of shirt

Front of shirt

Proud Models

© Patricia Knox, Linda Brandon & Susan Silverman - Whale Tales 2004