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ORCA’s Whale Education Month 2019

Logo: ORCA

Whale Education Month is a project run by ORCA, to encourage students (and their teachers!), to learn more about the importance of whales and dolphins, and their conservation, during the month of October. 

Hands up for dolphins (ORCA)
Hands up for dolphins (ORCA)

For the past 3 years, ORCA has developed a series of lesson plans to enthuse and inspire students about whales and dolphins.  Teachers are encouraged to deliver the ‘Whale Education Month’ materials throughout October, to coincide with World Animal Day on the 4th October.  However, the materials can be downloaded and used at any time throughout the year. 

The format of Whale Education Month is; an interactive PowerPoint presentation, with games and activities linked in.  There is a different theme each year, and three lesson plans created for each theme.  In 2017, Ocean Giants was the theme, which gave students an introduction to whales, dolphins and porpoises; their biology, anatomy, what they are, where they live, how they feed and an introduction to their conservation.  In 2018, Marine Litter was the theme, and students were able to explore what marine litter is, where it comes from and, most importantly, what they can do in their everyday lives to help reduce this threat. 

ORCA in schools (ORCA)
ORCA in schools (ORCA)

In 2019, the theme for Whale Education Month is communication, and we have developed lesson packs on communicating in the underwater world, voices of the deep (a fun and interactive lesson listening to some of the weird and wonderful sounds of different whale species), and noise pollution. 

Through Whale Education Month, we aim to give future generations the knowledge and tools to really make a change to the way we protect the oceans.  We believe that if more students are taught how vital whales, dolphins and porpoises, and therefore the wider marine environment are, they are more likely to help protect them through acts in their everyday lives. 

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities, and we are dedicated to the long term protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters.  We have worked in schools for the past eight years, on a local scale, and we have inspired tens of thousands of children about wonderful whales and dolphins and marine conservation.

But as a small charity, our education outreach was only on a local scale, until 2017 when we launched our Whale Education Month project.  In the first year, over 100 schools signed up, with thousands of students taking part.  In 2018, the event was even bigger with over 695 schools signed up from all around the world, and an estimated 65,000 children taking part!  And we want 2019 to be even bigger – so please do spread the word! 

Whales and dolphins in the classroom (ORCA)
Whales and dolphins in the classroom (ORCA)

It’s not only school teachers that have signed up, but home educators, parents, wildlife club leaders and community group leaders; the resources are free to everyone!

To receive the resources, visit our website at https://orcaweb.org.uk/get-involved/orca-in-schools/whale-education-month and fill in the short survey which can be accessed by clicking on ‘Register your interest for 2019’. 

The Whale Education Month materials were fantastic - We produced whale fact files, researched and produced posters explaining the dangers of single use plastics to sea life and used what we had learnt to write whale rescue stories. – Year 5 teacher from Lancashire

This is a brilliant way to motivate any school educator about cetaceans as its packaged up and so easy to use. Fun, Visual and packed with facts and easy activities. – Teacher from Newquay, Cornwall

Every time we are involved with ORCA, the children enjoy themselves and learn new things. But most importantly they know what they can do to help these animals.  Thank you. – Year 4 teacher, Portsmouth

Anna Bunney, ORCA’s Head of Education

anna.bunney@orcaweb.org.uk

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