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Pygmy Right Whales

Episode:101Te Papa Collection:Natural Environment

Suggested curriculum levels:3 – 7

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science: Nature of Science Living World

Description:Half the world's species of whales come to play around New Zealand's coast. Sadly, some get stranded and never leave, but there's a silver lining for scientists. The remains of stranded whales give them clues about the private life of the ocean's heavyweights.

Questions for students

  1. Why does Te Papa collect dead whales?
  2. How did scientists work together to find out more about pygmy right whales? What does this tell you about the nature of science?
  3. What special feature of the whale's ribs has surprised scientists? What are pangolins and armadillos? How might they be similar to a pygmy right whale?
  4. List the features of whales that are mentioned in the Tale. Which features are specific to the pygmy right whale?
  5. Select another kind of whale to research. Use the 'Comparisons' response template to compare the pygmy right whale with another whale.

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