Killer Whale Tales Programs
Students first attend a storytelling session about a boy who dreams of becoming a killer whale. This story provides an age-appropriate, highly effective means of teaching in-depth knowledge about the daily lives of these endangered animals. Students learn about the species’ use of habitat, anatomy, communication methods and of the human-induced impacts that are threatening these iconic animals.
In-Class Experiential Science Activities
Students then participate in experiential science and role-playing activities that enable them to practice field science in the classroom and learn about current orca research. For example, in one of our offerings, students learn to identify specific killer whale vocalizations and to note the location and date of these recordings. Using this data, they begin determining the habitat use by the region’s orcas. Later, students are given the opportunity to continue monitoring the live-streaming hydrophones outside the classroom and submit their observations to local research teams, thus helping them become citizen scientists.
Kids Making a Difference-Now!
This activity asks students to reduce their environmental impact, while providing them with an opportunity to practice scientific observation and data collection outside the classroom. Acting as scientists, students "go into the field" (their homes) to gather data on their families' environmental footprint. Next, they are asked to modify their behaviors and to gather a new set of data that reflects these changes. Back in class, students compile and analyze their results to determine how their behavior change can make a difference when it comes to protecting the region's killer whale habitat.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Killer Whale Tales has seen great success recently in the level of student participation and enthusiasm for the program. In 2011, 67% of students that we visited reduced their environmental foot print due to our Kids Making and Difference-Now! activity. In 2012, that rate increased to 83%, which is the highest rate of participation in the entire life of the program. Last year alone, students saved enough water to fill the Colman Pool at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
On a personal level, in February, after presenting to a school in Bellingham, we received a beautiful PowerPoint from a 4th grade student showing us how much she had learned from the program. Additionally, one of the teachers informed us that another young participant confessed that he had found his calling in life; he wants to do what Jeff does when he grows up: research and saving whales.
In order to continue to provide a high quality educational opportunity to the students of the Pacific Northwest, at no cost to schools, Killer Whale Tales needs additional operating funds. With your support, we will be able to print the activity booklets and activity sheets that are used in classrooms in a manner that is consistent with our mission to protect the whales of Puget Sound.