Teacher’s Questions for Whale of a Lesson


Before reading:

1. Explain what you know about whales. How many species can you name?

During reading:

1. Why can’t ships always avoid hitting whales in the Bay of Fundy?

2. Give two reasons why scientists were especially concerned to learn about Delilah’s death.

3. How did the right whale get its name?

4. Describe baleen and several of the things that people once used it for.

5. How many North Atlantic right whales remained when hunting the animals was outlawed in 1935?

6. What discovery did Scott Krauss make while flying over the Bay of Fundy in 1980?

7. How do scientists identify individual right whales?

8. How did scientists learn the gender of Calvin?

9. Describe the annual migration of right whales in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

10. What did Calvin get tangled up in? And how did scientists try to help the animal?

11. What did Amy Knowlton learn about how often right whales become caught in fishing gear?

12. How were conditions for right whales in the Bay of Fundy different in 2005 from conditions in 1992, when Calvin first arrived in the bay with Delilah?

13. Scientists today can estimate the size of animal populations living hundreds of years ago, like right whales in the western North Atlantic. How do they do that?

14. A study of the whale bones at the archaeological site in Canada revealed what two big surprises?

15. Did the scientists find that genetic diversity in right whale calves is increasing or decreasing? Is this good news or bad news?

After reading:

1. Why is Calvin’s story so inspiring to scientists who study right whales?

2. Were you surprised to learn of the scientists’ discovery that right whales may have always been rare? Explain your answer.


1. Do you think shipping companies should have to make changes and sacrifices in order to protect whales in their ships’ paths? Explain your answer.

2. Do you think fishing companies should have to make changes and sacrifices in order to prevent whales from becoming tangled in their gear? Explain your answer.