Summary of Wandering Whales - surveying migrating humpbacks in Cook Strait | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Wandering Whales - surveying migrating humpbacks in Cook Strait
Term 2 starting 20 June 2012.

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In preparation for this field trip you will learn about characteristics of whales as individuals - their anatomy, senses, reproduction, diet and behaviour and the characteristics of a whale population - its size, location and age structure. You will gain an insight into the fascinating humpback whale song, the most diverse range of sounds known for any whale and some of the longest and most varied sounds of any animal in the world - all within our human hearing range. You will learn about The Cook Strait whale project which is an annual science survey that aims to find out about the recovery of humpback whales in New Zealand waters since commercial whaling in New Zealand ended in the 1960s. You will learn about the science involved in studying humpback whales, how the information is gathered and processed and the observations made by DOC scientists that will contribute to decisions about the management and protection of humpback whales in the Southern hemisphere. You will learn about modern threats to whales and how you can help whales. During the field trip you will get up close to a humpback whale. Join the team working on the Cook Strait whale project and head out to sea for a close-up look at these amazing animals as they migrate between their winter and summer habitats. Contribute to global research efforts by taking photos of humpback tail flukes and collecting genetic samples, using a specially modified .22 firearm, as DOC scientists work to establish how well humpback whale populations are recovering after 45 years of protection. You will also get the rare opportunity of meeting an ex-whaler as he talks about the shift from killing whales to protecting them by contributing to the Cook Strait project. Also during this field trip you will learn about the idea of interconnectedness and the impact that human activity and processes like climate change has on species like the humpback whale.

Where you will go

Did you know that commercial whaling took place in Cook Strait from whaling stations on Arapawa Island, on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds, until the 1960s? It stopped when whale numbers dropped dramatically. 45 years on and the ex-whalers are looking for whales again, especially humpbacks, but this time it's to help DOC and the Cook Strait Whale Project.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Living World Levels 1-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 1-4, Nature of Science Levels 1-4, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8; Social Sciences: Social Studies Levels 2-5, History Levels 6,8; Social Studies: Economic World Level 5

More Curriculum

Also covers content for Achievement Standards from Earth and Space Science (ESS) within the Planet Earth and Beyond Strand such as ESS 2.4 AS91190: Investigate how organisms survive in an extreme environment; ESS 2.7 AS91193: Demonstrate understanding of physical principles related to the Earth System; ESS 3.2: Investigate a socio-scientific issue in an Earth and Space Science context.

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  • ESOL

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  • What's in a Field Trip

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  • How teachers use LEARNZ

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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.

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Andrew the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Andrew, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

genetic variation and change, humpback whales, mammals, migration, New Zealand History, oceans, perspectives, population, sustainability, Wellington, whales, whaling