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This lesson on comparing size asks “How Big Is A Whale” and uses the Internet


Computers & Internet, Math, Science  




Title – How Big is a Whale?
By – Beverly Utz
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet, Science
Grade Level – 6
(Adapted With Permission From
Lesson Plan Title: How Big is a Whale

Concept / Topic To Teach: Computer Applications integrated with Science and Math

Standards Addressed: From Proposed Pennsylvania Standards on Science and Technology-select appropriate instruments to study materials for measuring and recording (computer, Web browser with Internet connection)

To solve specific problems NCTM Standards (Grades 5-8) problem solving, communication, connections, number relationships, computation, estimation, measurement

General Goal(s): This lesson is designed for students to use Web searching skills to compare the size of a known object with the size of a large object.

Specific Objectives:
Students will use the Internet to make comparisons regarding the size of whales.
Students will investigate the differences in lengths and weights of whales.
Students will be able to make comparisons of a known object (truck) to help in making an estimate of a very large object (whale).
Students will be able to answer questions on the information they gather.

Required Materials: Computer with a browser and a connection to the Internet
The following sites are recommended for this lesson:
Blue whale – picture and length
blue whale pictures

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In): Create interest by presenting a Web site on a visual projector of whale sounds, a video of a live killer whale.
·Students will take a pre-test to establish what they know about whales. (Which whale is the largest? Which whale is the smallest? Which whale weighs the most? Where does the blue whale live? Are gray whales medium or large? What is the closest length for a
gray whale? Which describes the length of the killer whale the best? Where does the killer whale live? Is a truck the same size as a whale?)

Step-By-Step Procedures:
·Students will be instructed to visit Web sites to provide information about the lengths and weights of the blue, gray, and killer whales, and the lengths of Ford and Chevrolet pick-up trucks. A worksheet (questions to use in the worksheet are included further down in this lesson plan) will be provided to document the findings and calculations can be made into feet.
·Students work in groups to compare research information of whales. A question worksheet is completed by the group answering questions about the comparison of the lengths and weights of the three types of whales, and comparisons of the lengths of whales and trucks. (How many pick-up trucks would you need to line up bumper to bumper to match the length of a blue whale? How much longer is a blue whale than a gray whale? Is the weight of three gray whales less than, greater than, or equal to (<, >, =) the weight of one blue whale? Write an inequality that shows this relationship. Write a question that asks about the length of a whale versus another object, person, or animal. Then answer your question. If you added the weight of one killer whale, one gray whale, and one blue whale together, would that amount be less than, greater than, or equal to (<, >, =) the combined weights of 10 gray whales? Write an inequality that shows this relationship. Write a question that uses the weight of the different whales to make comparison. Answer your own question with an explanation.

Plan For Independent Practice:
Draw a concept map for practice and to enhance retention by recording the comparison of the blue, gray, and killer whales by eight and length and then, the comparisons of a whale’s length with a Ford and Chevrolet pick-up truck

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set): Students will complete rubric for a peer assessment. The teacher will facilitate the assessment.

Assessment Based On Objectives: Points for evaluation will be based on the categories of organization, mechanics, sources such as the concept map, and quality of information found during lesson.
Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities): Students can complete a graph on paper by coloring in the information. Have a concept map drawn for students for them to complete information rather than having to draw the map. Students will work with partners during math and question activities.

Extensions (For Gifted Students): Students graph on paper the lengths of the whales. Insert information into a spreadsheet and convert the information into a graph

Possible Connections To Other Subjects: The purpose of this lesson is integrating the curriculum with technology. This lesson is taught in computer class with connections to Math and Science. All information will be included for a whale project during the sixth grade Ocean study.

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