An all-ages talk that offers a good overview to one of the "celebrities" of the whale world. What makes a whale a whale? What is a cetacean? How big is the biggest whale? How long can they hold their breath? This interactive presentation aims to instil a love of the oceans in pupils by introducing them to one of the most charismatic animals on Earth.
Topics covered include classification, evolution, food chains, habitats, adaptations, comparative anatomy and physiology, conservation, and even deep sea exploration!
Participants are invited to take part in a breath-holding competition, impersonate a giant squid, try to out-do a sperm whale at noise making, and squirt glow-in-the-dark giant squid ink.
Where available, cetacean artefacts will be used to highlight key points with attendees being invited to handle them. The talk culminates with a discussion on the impact of ocean plastics and possible solutions to the problem. With a strong pro-STEM and creativity-in-science message, it is hoped that the listeners leave feeling like they can be part of the solution.
The talk can be easily adapted to meet different needs / ages and information can be altered accordingly should a specific focus or topic need covering.
The cross-curricular nature of this talk is not always obvious; after all it presents itself as a biological discussion of an animal. However, marine life often makes an excellent springboard for leading us into other areas as so many aspects of our lives are intrinsically linked to the oceans. It is important to discussing our relationship with whales and dolphins within a historical context – it is often a misconception that 1) whaling ended hundreds of years ago, 2) the only thing we hunted whales for was meat. To this end, the whale as a resource is discussed with regards whale oil while making explicit links to the material properties of the substances extracted from whales.
While the biology links within this talk are apparent, the talk also discusses states of matter, density, material science, wave propagation and pressure while comparing exploring the deep ocean to exploring space.
This talk was successfully presented to an audience of over 1000 (KS2 to KS4) pupils as part of the Big Bang Fair South East 2016.