A Journey into their Secret World
It is dark in the classroom. The contour lines of the big orca and its baby, gliding along the wall, are hardly visible. A beluga hides on the white wall while three dolphins are jumping out of the imaginary water. A giant humpback whale covers the huge window in front and its songs fill the dark room. As the children enter the lecture hall they spontaneously express their astonishment; “Wow, look at that one. This IS a real giant!”.
Then Ursula takes them with her on a journey into a distant secret world- underwater; the world of whales and cetaceans. At one point the children take on the role of a hungry, echolocating dolphin, learning what it means to live in an airless environment, and finally in this journey they become whale researchers learning to identify individual whales.
It is our belief that learning experiences, which use various sensory perceptions, create long-lasting and deep memories. For years the children will remember the huge whales in the dark room, how they searched for food while blindfolded, and they will remember the minke whale they adopted. These memories will connect them with the whales and will raise their awareness of environmental topics and issues. And hopefully these positive memories will linger far into their adult lives when they become active members of the global community.
4th grade children have expressed their enthusiasm gained in a lecture and the minke whale adoption in letters sent to ORES. Some of which are translated and presented here.
“I liked the whale project very much. I am sad that it is already over. I hope that we meet again. I have learned a lot. For example, that the flippers of a humpback whale are as long as the height of our classroom. That the dorsal fin is called fin and many more things. I would love to come out to the sea with you to observe whales. I wish you success.”
Melina, 10 years
“I very much liked the adoption of the minke. I hope to meet you again. I have learned a lot from you. For instance that whales feed on fish or what they feed on (plankton and fish) and something else. Never did I have such a great topic at school. I hope that you won’t loose your whales. I would love to come on board of your ship and to see the whales.”
Jael, 10 years
„I liked your lecture very much!!! ... and I hope that you continue your project. It’s sad that we can’t have an adoption anymore and I have learned a lot about whales.“
Andres, 10 years