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Wonderful Whales

The First Discovery Series of informational books by Scholastic, specifically "Whales" for this lesson, is loved by teachers and students; this accompanying project will, too!

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 30 Minutes or Less
  • Directions

    1. Share with students several books in Scholastic's First Discovery series, specifically the one entitled Whales by Gallimard Jeunesse. These books have acetate pages that help the reader interact and add a special touch to the informative illustrations. Read this book aloud with your class.
    2. After the read aloud has concluded, divide the students into small groups and explain that their artistic interpretation of the information in the book is going to 'come alive' with movement! They will be working together to make a mobile.
    3. Provide each student with Crayola Construction Paper and Erasable Colored Pencils. Students fold their paper in half and demonstrate that when you (and they) draw the whale you choose, you will be sure to have at least 1" (2.5cm) touch that top folded edge. When they cut out the whale, they do not cut on the folded edge. This will allow the formation of 2 separate pieces for the front and back of the whale.
    4. Each student will look at the variances of the whale shapes and placement of the eyes, fins & tails. Depending upon if the whale is a baleen whale or one with teeth, the shapes of their bodies will be most similar. Students add details such as the type of line for the mouth and if the whale has any coloring or patterns on its body.
    5. After students draw their whales, they can carefully cut them out, being careful not to cut that top fold edge. Once cut, students look back at the text of the book and write one sentence about their type of whale on the back page.
    6. Demonstrate how to gently push a pencil point through the top edge, along the fold, to make a small hole and then push the end of a piece of yarn through that hole. A small piece of clear tape on the underside/inside of the paper whale will keep it secure.
    7. Each group can wrap the yarn around a recycled cardboard tube, about 2" (5cm) apart and secure with another small piece of clear tape. Display all and as the whales 'swim' around above them, see if students can read and learn some new facts about the many different types of whales.
  • Standards

    LA: Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

    LA: Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

    SCI: Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

    VA: Engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with materials.

    VA: Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.

    VA: Elaborate visual information by adding details in an artwork to enhance emerging meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Use this project as a springboard to study or incorporate Alexander Calder, creator of mobile, into your classroom or any curriculum area!

    Create mobiles in this style based on other books in this First Discovery Book series by Scholastic.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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