The Topic: 
Whales & Dolphins

Looking for information and pictures on a specific species or type of whale or dolphin? Be sure to visit the companion webpage to this project that is titled Species of Whales and Dolphins. There you will find so many more websites that it was necessary to break them off onto their separate webpage.

Easier - Whales are group of large sea animals that look like fish, but are not. They are really mammals. Another sea animal group related to whales but smaller in size are dolphins. Dolphins have a snout shaped like a beak. Dolphins should not be confused with the brightly colored ocean fish of the same name. A third related ocean animal is the porpoise with a rounded head and a short, blunt snout. The porpoise is smaller than both whales and dolphins. Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are all mammals that breathe air and are members of the whale family.
Harder - Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are all members of the scientific order cetacea (Pronounced: suh-TAY-sha). As cetaceans, they are warm blooded, bear their young alive. and the babies nurse their mother's milk. Cetaceans live entirely in water but must breathe air through their lungs. They have fishlike bodies with a thick layer of fat or blubber to keep them warm. Cetaceans also have flippers for front limbs, but do not have hind limbs. Unlike most other mammals, they have very little body hair.
American Cetacean Society
This is the website of is the oldest whale conservation group in the world. They seek to educate about these remarkable animals and the problems they face in their increasingly threatened habitats.
Related Websites:
2) Cetacea
3) Cetaceans
4) Learning About Marine Mammals from Dolphin Research Center
5) Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises (Order Cetacea) by L. Drumm from the National Marine Mammal Laboratory
David's Dolphin and Whale Watch
This is a good starting point for studying dolphins and whales. The site has a large collection of photographs plus sounds and links.
Other Websites Featuring Dolphins and Whales:
2) Dolphinwise 
3) Marine Mammals: Dolphins and Whales
4) Whale Club: Dolphins, Whales, & Manatees
5) Whale Songs by L. Leonhardt, Black Box and Oasis Telecommunications
6) World Wide Whales
Dolphins from Scholastic's Wild Animal Watch
Host Dan Odell takes you underwater to meet the inquisitive stars of the cetacean group - dolphins.
Related Websites:
2) Dolphin Institute
3) Dolphin Links from Suite 101
4) Dolphins: Mammals
5) Dolphin Research Institute
6) Dolphins at Enchanted Learning
7) Dolphins from Discovering Whales
8) Dolphins Around the World by S. Kirby
9) Frequently Asked Questions: Dolphins
10)Human Dolphin Institute
Whales: A Thematic Web Unit
This site contains a a thematic unit for cooperative learning across an integrated curriculum which is an interactive resource for teachers, students, and parents.
Other Whale Sites:
2) Discovering Whales
3) Whale Information from South Australian Whale Center
4) Whales on the Net
5) Whales On the Net - Picture Gallery
6) Zoom Whales from Enchanted Learning
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following activities:
Complete A Dolphin and/or Whale WebQuest. Adapt or follow the directions found at these webQuest sites:
1) Dolphin -Safe Tuna? (Grades 5-8) by M. Buray, R. Fleet, and C. Rieker
2) Emily Learns About Whales
3) Gray Whales (Grades 4-6) by D. Myrick
4) In Search of the Humpback Whale (Long-term quest for Grades 2-4) by P. Wood
5) Rescuing A Baby Beluga (Grades 4-6) by D. Braccio, E. Horn, and E. Usher
6) Welcome . . . to the Wonderful World of Whales! (Grades 1-4)
7) Whale Facts (Grades 4-6) by A. Lackowizc & C. Pearl-Hodgins
8) Whale Quest (Grades 2-3)
Compare and Contrast Whales to Fish. How are whales like fish and how do they differ. Use resources found on the websites and your library to research this topic. Put your findings together in a graphics program such as Kidspiration or Inspiration. You could also graph this on a spreadsheet or database software. An alternative topic would be to compare and contrast dolphins to fish.
Debate the Intelligence of Dolphins. Start your research by visiting many of the dolphin sites. Follow with the information and links found at the following websites:
1) Brains, Behavior and Intelligence in Cetaceans by M. Klinowska
2) Dolphins and Man.....Equals? by R. Blackstock
3) Dolphin Communication and Intelligence Research by C. Steinle
4) Dolphin Intelligence and the Captivity Issue by K.W. Levasseur
5) Evidence Puts Dolphins in New Light, as Killers by W.J. Broad
Promote Your Favorite Whale or Dolphin. After visiting lots of the sites, select your favorite. Then create a poster that promotes your choice. Display your completed work.
Debate Native American Whaling Rights. Recent years has brought heightened controversies over the rights of Native Americans to practice their ancestral hunting and fishing practices. One of the most active debates has centered on the resumption of whaling by the Makah tribe in Washington. Examine the issues and debate the topics.
1) Makah Get More Whaling Rights in 2nd Environmental Assessment by D. Snider from
Environment News Service
2) Makah Whaling Also A Political Issue by P.Walker
3) Public Hearing to Focus on Makah Whaling from Seattle Post-Intelligencer
4) Whaling Commission Approves Combined Russian-Makah Gray Whale Quota
5) Whaling Report to the Makah Tribal Council
6) Winona LaDuke Position on Makah Whaling
Locate the Species. Start with a world map and then locate where you most often find different species of whales or dolphins. Find out which species are nearest you. You may want to include pictures of the various types of whales and dolphins.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Afriteam (2001 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
This website introduces whales and whale spotting around South Africa.
Dolphins- The Oracles of the Sea (First place award, 1998 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
Dolphins are as intelligent as a human being - or are they? Find out the truth as you explore this well-researched site on the different species of oceanic dolphins, various small toothed whales (they are closer to dolphins than whales), and river dolphins. The site includes evolution, taxonomy, anatomy, behavior, and more.
Leap Into The World of Dolphins (Gold award, 2001 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This website includes the life of a dolphin, dolphin protection, dolphin species, and an interactive section called fun lagoon.
Majesty of Whales (1996 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
Do you know that whales and dolphins are not fish at all, but are types of marine mammal? Learn more about them.
Welcome to the World of Cetacea (1997 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
View a museum about dolphins from their point-of-view as you look at pictures and gather information about dolphin anatomy, habitat, and fun facts.
Whales and Their Habitat Around Man (1996 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
The tongue of a blue whale--the largest animal in the world--can weigh up to 22 tons! Read other interesting facts about the speed, color, and eating habits of whales. Learn to identify the different 'blows' of each kind of whale.
More Whales & Dolphins Sites
Baleen Whales from Sea World
Most scientists recognize three whales in the whale group (suborder): right whale, rorqual whale, and the gray whale. Others include a fourth, the pygmy right whale.
Other Sites from Sea World:
2) Beluga Whales
3) Bottlenose Dolphins
4) Killer Whales
California Gray Whale Tutorial
The online lessons include: What is a California Gray Whale?, Migration, Feeding, Whaling, Whale Behavior, and Calving.
Charlotte, The Vermont Whale from University of Vermont
Finding the bones of a marine whale in the fields of rural Vermont is an intriguing dilemma that poses a number of questions.
Dolphins and Man.....Equals? by R. Blackstock
This article considers the intelligence of dolphins versus man and more.
Marine Mammal Vocalizations: Language or Behavior? by K. Amaral
Find out if the sounds whales and dolphins make are a form of communication or a simple behavior. This site includes many marine mammal sound clips.
Tuna-Dolphin Controversy by M. Scott and
For more than 25 years, the tuna-dolphin controversy in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) has raged in public debate, courts of law, scientific meetings, the halls of Congress, and international meetings.
Related Website:
2) Dolphin Protection and Tuna Seining by E.H. Buck
3) Tuna/Dolphin Update by K. O'Connell
4) Tuna Fishing Report by M. Groswald
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
This is the website of an organization dedicated to the conservation and welfare of all whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Virtual Whales
Here you can find a 3D Animation and sound environment for the visualization of the feeding behaviors of Pacific Humpback Whales.
Whale Watcher
When you run this online application, it will ask you some questions and then try to identify the whale that you have observed.
By watching the whales you can prolong the life of cetaceans as a species. This may be the last chance before they say goodbye for this Planet.
Websites For Teachers
Becoming Whales by L. Flammer
Students will experience the historical discovery of fossils which increasingly link whales to earlier land-dwelling mammals.
Create a Whale of a Lesson! from Education World
This lesson planning article contains a bunch of cross-curriculum activities related to Keiko, killer whales, and Iceland.
Elementary Lesson Plans from Dolphin Quest
Students are fascinated by dolphins and intrigued by the ocean world. Here are some elementary-level lessons for your students that teach solid science concepts using dolphins as the context.
Related Website:
2) Secondary Lesson Plans from Dolphin Quest
How Big is a Blue Whale? (Pre-K to Grade 2) from Teachers Net
Before starting this lesson, the teacher should cut the shape of a whale's head and the shape of a whale's tail out of chart paper. Make them as life-sized as possible.
Models Made from Squares: Whale
This fishy model is easy and good for beginners. Have a whale of a time!
(SWIMS) Studying Whales in Middle School (Grade 7)
This site has a four week unit on humpback whales.
Tuna/Dolphin Controversy from FOR SEA Institute of Marine Science
This is a site of a sample lesson plan. Connects to a related student page.
Whale Lesson by L. Sehorne at Teachers Net
This brief site has some good ideas for learning activities on whales.
Whales Teacher Guide (Grades K-3) from Sea World
Students will explore the natural history of whales and recognize that humans are an interconnected part of whales' ecosystems.
Another Sea World Teacher Guide:
2) Orcas (In Spanish)
dorsal fin
baleen plates
live bearer
tide pool
dorsal hump
coral reef
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 4/02. Update by Nancy Smith 10/02