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.

  • Vision, Values, Key Competencies, Principles, Literacy and Numeracy

    By their nature, LEARNZ field trips integrate with the higher levels of the NZ Curriculum. Participation encourages development of the Key Competencies around Thinking, Using language, symbols and text, Managing self, Relating to others, and Participating and contributing. Teachers indicate this in testimonials. LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Literacy, with opportunities to develop skills in Listening, Reading and Viewing and in Speaking, Writing and Presenting. More about LEARNZ as a Reading Resource and student writing opportunities with LEARNZ. Select LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Numeracy, encouraging the development of skills in Number and Algebra, in Statistics and in Geometry and Measurement.

  • ESOL

    As well as providing visual and audio material and access to real experiences, LEARNZ links well to ESOL Principles, especially Principle 3 Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes? Principle 4 Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

  • What's in a Field Trip

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  • How teachers use LEARNZ

    View teacher comments in testimonials and in the LEARNZ Group on the VLN. There are two main ways teachers use a LEARNZ virtual field trip with their class. Firstly, a LEARNZ field trip is ideally an immersive, engaging, synchronous, online learning experience with real-time components and a myriad of opportunities for teachers and students. Secondly, and less ideal but still effective, a LEARNZ field trip can be used as a retrospective experience where the resources such as photos, text, activities, videos and audioconferences/web conferences comprise a unique collection of authentic, contemporary New Zealand teaching and learning material.

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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.

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

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