Questions for Cool Jobs: A whale of a time


Before reading

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

2.    What threats do whales face? List as many as you can.

During reading

1.    How much can a humpback whale weigh?

2.    What are cetaceans?

3.    Why is sound more useful than light in exploring the ocean?

4.    What happens to the pulses of sound that Kelly Benoit-Bird sends into the water? What can those pulses reveal?

5.    How did the spinner dolphin get its name?

6.    Describe how spinner dolphins hunt fish.

7.    About how long is an adult blue whale?

8.    Explain the similarities between a tree’s rings and a whale’s earwax.

9.    List three things Stephen Trumble learned from his studies of the blue whale’s earwax.

10.  Why was Andrew Trites searching for the skeleton of a blue whale?

11.  Where did Trites find his blue whale?

After reading

1.    Flame-retardants can slow or stop the spread of flames. They are commonly used in furniture. Explain how you think whales become exposed to these chemicals.

2.    Why do you think bacteria in the soil were unable to break down the flesh of the whale buried on Prince Edward Island in Canada?


1.    The young blue whale that washed ashore in Southern California in 2007 was one of a handful of the marine mammals to die in collisions with ships that year. What steps could be taken to avoid similar collisions from taking place in the future?

2.    Building awareness of whales and other animals that live largely out of view can inspire efforts to conserve and protect them. Working with a partner, brainstorm some ways to increase public awareness of whales and some of the risks they face.