From Lincoln County Schools
Did you know that the Blue Whale is the largest animal on earth (even larger than the mightiest dinosaur!)… that 25 adults can fit on the tongue of a Blue Whale? (Let’s hope he doesn’t swallow!)… that the Blue Whale’s heart is the size of a VW Bug (that’s a small car, for those too young to drive.)
Taft Elementary School students learned these amazing facts and more during a special presentation by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
OMSI Educator Chuck Barnes spoke to the kindergarten through sixth-grade students about the exciting possibilities of working in the field of science, such as he does. Barnes then turned to his main topic: whales, large and small. He explained a bit about their migration patterns, and talked about the whales that swim along the nearby shores of the great Pacific Ocean. He spoke about the negative human impact on whale populations, through over hunting and pollution, and commented that it would be up to these children’s generation to decide the future of the whale species on earth.
Students were invited to crawl inside the belly of a 60-foot long Gray Whale – actually, an inflatable replica that gives students and teaches a better understanding of just how large a whale can be. Students also participated in interactive learning tasks related to whales, and held magnifying glasses to examine real whale backbones, baleen, and other oceanic artifacts.
The OMSI “Amazing Whale” program was adapted for Taft Elementary to ensure that all 500 students had the opportunity to participate. It began with an all-school assembly in the morning, then classes rotated in and out of the gymnasium every 20 minutes throughout the day.
Taft Elementary Principal Nick Lupo credits teachers Kelsey and Nick Culbertson for helping to bring the program to their school; the Culbertsons both worked at OMSI during a summer program this past year. Through this connection, OMSI agreed to restructure the presentation for Taft Elementary while adhering to common core state standards for science, and to provide a funding gift that cut the cost of the travelling program nearly in half.