An Underwater Adventure

A WebQuest on Whales

Designed by Crystal Bayley

 three orca whales

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page


Whales are fascinating mammals that live in the oceans across the world. Whales are different in size, color, and by what they eat. Several types of whales travel in groups called pods. Whales communicate with each other by uising echolocation. Some people think that they sound like they are singing to their pod. There are many different types of whales to learn about.

You will begin this activity in a pod with other members of your class to research information about a particular whale. The list of whales to be researched are Belugas, Blue Whales, Bowheads, Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Minkes, Narwhals, Orcas (Killer Whales), Pilot Whales, and Right Whales. Then you will use the information you gathered to create an individual presentation.

The Task

You and your pod members will need to choose a whale from the list  and navigate the Internet sites listed below to find information. The information will need to be relevant to your whale and be useful for your classmates.

After your pod researches your whale species, each person will choose to either design a poster or a PowerPoint presentation with the information gathered on your type of whale. You will need to include photographs from the websites you visit in addition to a hand drawn illustration. The informational poster and PowerPoint will need to follow the list of criteria in the process.

After completing your research, you will present your poster information or PowerPoint to a small group of peers. You will be scored and evaluated on all three areas of the project by the rubric below.

The Process

This lesson will need to be completed in three different parts. Each part should take about 35-45 minutes to complete. Follow these steps to ensure that you accomplish the task and ask your teacher if you have any questions.

PART I: Research

  1. First you'll be assigned to a pod of 2-3 students.
  2. Then your group will get a type of whale to research by drawing the name out of a hat.
  3. Once you've received a type of whale, you will then access the Internet to find out information in relation to the topics. 
  4. Look at the links below to find the necessary questions and fill in the information on the recording sheet.
  5. As a pod, you will need to look for the information below on your specific whale.
    1. The average length of an adult.
    2. The average weight of your whale species.
    3. The type of food your particular whale eats.
    4. The areas of migration your whale tends to go.
    5. The scientific name for your whale.
    6. And any other interesting facts or information your group would like to share. 
beluga whale
Beluga Whales:


blue whale
Blue Whales:


bowhead whale
Bowhead Whales:


Gray Whales:

humpback whale
Humpback Whales:


minke whale
Minke Whales:


narwhal whale
Narwhal Whales:


 orca whale
Orca (Killer) Whales: 


pilot whale
Pilot Whales:


right whale
Right Whale:



PART II: Informational Poster or PowerPoint
  1. You will need to use the information you gathered to create a poster or PowerPoint to present to your classmates.
  2. You may want to use a graphic organizer or a recording sheet to help organize your information.
  3. The poster or PowerPoint you create will need to include all of the information listed below on the  Checklist.
  4. Poster: You will also need to include at least 1 hand-drawn picture of your whale species to add to your poster. Also, at least 2 Internet-printed images.
  5. PowerPoint: You will need to include at least 3 Internet images within your slides. There is a minimum of 5 slides.
___ Whale name (common)
___ Scientific whale name
___ Average length of an adult
___ Average weight
___ Type of food it eats
___ Any interesting facts or information about your whale
___ At least 1 hand-drawn image (poster only)
___ At least 2 printed images from the Internet (3 images for the PowerPoint)


PART III: Class Presentation
The presentation should be from 5-7 minutes per group. Students will present in small groups of peers.
  1. You will  to present your information gathered on the specific whale species.
  2. Make sure that you cover all of the information you learned about your whale and leave some time for questions or comments.
  3. Have fun with this activity and be creative. There is no limit to the amount of information you may use.


Each student will be evaluated on this four-day lesson, using the rubric below. The total score will be based on both individual and group work collaboration. You will be expected to participate in the research, design a poster or PowerPoint, orally present to a small group of classmates, and the ability to work together as a group. At the end of this project, you will be asked to evaluate your work using this rubric. Your teacher will look at the scores you gave yourself in addition to the scores they gave you.










Find accurate and quality information about your whale

 Only 1 or 2 facts were  found. They were not  accurate or quality work.
There were 2-3 facts were found. They were accurate and  useful.
There were 4-5 facts found. They were accurate and of quality work. 
There were 6 or more facts that were very informative and quality work. 


Use the websites listed to find information
Only one website was viewed to find information.
At least two websites  were used to find information on whales.
Three websites were used to collect information on whales.
All four websites were used in the research process.


Create an informational poster on your whale


The poster is unorganized and difficult to read.  The hand-drawn images and Internet photos are missing from the poster.
The poster is not well organized or easy to read. The hand-drawn illustration is missing or only 1 image from the websites is included.
The poster is organized and clear. There is 1 hand-drawn illustration and 2 pictures from the website included on the poster.
The poster is organized, information is clear, and there is more than 1 hand-drawn illustration. More than 2 pictures from the websites are included.

Create an informational PowerPoint on your whale

The PowerPoint was unorganized and difficult to follow. There were no images included on the slides. Only 1 or 2 total slides were created.

The PowerPoint is not well organized or easy to read. There is only 1 image used on the slides. There were 3 to 4 total slides created.

The PowerPoint is organized and clear. There are at least 3 images from the websites visited included in the slides. There were at least 5 total slides created.

The PowerPoint is organized, information is clear, and there are more than 3 images included.  There are 6 or more slides created for the presentation.


Presentation of poster or PowerPoint

 The poster was not used during the presentation. Only 1-2 pieces of information  was shared with the class. There was not eye contact with the audience. The overall presentation was not organized.

The poster was explained during the presentation.  Only some of the information was shared. The presentation had limited organization. Some of the information was unclear.
Most of the required information was shared during the presentation.  The information was clearly spoken. Student knows and understands the information covered.
All of the required information was presented. The overall presentation was organized and  the information was understood and presented clearly.


Work cooperatively in a group

The student did not participate with their group members. Information was researched individually.

Students worked together, but did  not work cooperatively.
Students worked together and got along well.
Students worked cooperatively as a group. They were able to help each other when problems arise.


By the end of this lesson, you should be able to demonstrate your understanding on a particular whale species by, collecting information from the Internet, creating an informational poster or PowerPoint, and presenting your whale to your classmates. You will also need to be able to answer questions your classmates have about your particular whale.

After this activity you may want to ask yourself: What types of  food do baleen and toothed whales typically eat? Which whale is the longest? Which whale is the smallest? What time of year do most whales migrate?

For more more information on whales, visit the links below.

About whales in general:

Credits & References

Whale Images:
First Orca whale image image found at
Beluga whale image found at http://www.spawar.nsvy.mil/sandiego/technology/mammals/animals.html
Blue whale image found at http://seashepherd.org/whales/whales.html
Bowhead whale image found at http://www.allthesea.com/Bowhead-Whales.html
Gray whale image found at http://royaldutchshellplc.com/category/whale/
Humpback whale image found at http://www.victorialodging.com/whales/gray-whales.html
Minke whale image found at http://www.undersea.com.au/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=7
Narwhal whale image found at http://www.snowwowl.com/animallore/rlanimalswater1.html
Orca whale image found at http://www.searealm.com/information.html?genus=Orcinus&species=orca
Pilot whale image found at http://www.circe-asso.org/english/index.html?sensib_en.html&1
Right whale image found at http://www.ens-newspire.com/ens/nov2005/2005-11-02-02.asp

Books: Here are a list of books that could assist students in creating questions and writing answers for their specific whale species.

Baby Whales Drink Milk by Barbara Juster Esbensen

Whales by David Jones

Whales and Dolphins by Steve Parker 

Thanks to all of my classmates who have helped me find fun and interesting whale websites. Also, a big thanks to Mark Bailey who helped me understand the importance of using WebQuests in the classroom.

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Last updated on April 1, 2007. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page

Copyright Crystal Bayley © all educational uses permitted
Direct comments or questions to cbayley@pacificu.edu