Measurement (length): Whale Song

1 - Learning Objective

Challenge level ⭐⭐

(designed for children with prior knowledge of the Year 3 and Year 4 programme of study)

Learning Objective

We are learning how to solve a natural world problem by using and applying our knowledge and skills of measurement and length (km & m).

Useful prior knowledge:

  • To estimate length with increasing accuracy
  • To know that 1 km is equivalent to 1,000 m

Credit: BBC One - The Life of Mammals

Clip Description

In the vastness of the world’s seas and oceans, whales communicate with sound. They use a variety of noises (clicks, whistles, groans, moans and pulsed calls) when socialising with each other.

In this fascinating clip, we learn that humpback whales are able to communicate with each other even though they may be thousands of kilometres apart. This is possible because sound travels much further and faster through water than it does through air. How do you think a whale uses sound to navigate its way around the featureless expanse of an ocean? Watch the clip to find out.

Quick Whiteboard Challenge

It took 7 seconds for the long low moan made by a male humpback male to reach a female humpback whale.

If sound travels at 1,500 metres per second through water, how far apart were the whales?