Dolphins are some of the most playful and engaging creatures in the sea. They have a lot of interesting behaviors, which means kids love learning about them! This blog post is full of fun and engaging ideas for teaching children about dolphins with lists and activities that will keep them engaged. I hope you find some great dolphins unit study ideas below. Learn more now!
What is a Dolphin?
A dolphin is a sea mammal closely related to the porpoise and whale. There are 40 different species of dolphins, which can be found in all corners of the globe. All dolphins have thick layers of blubber under their skin that help them stay warm even when it’s cold outside.
Dolphins live in the ocean in various habitats, like in shallow water near the coast or far out on the open ocean. They can also be found living as close to shore as possible (called coastal dolphins) and they have been spotted from time to time even swimming up rivers!
According to Us.Whales.org, “Orcas are the only dolphins which live in the Arctic and Antarctic. Their large size means that they have more protection against the harsh cold of the freezing seas. Most dolphins prefer tropical and temperate waters as they are warm-blooded mammals and so it is easier for them to regulate their body temperature in these environments.”
Dolphins are social animals who live together in pods of between five and fifty members. They are quite intelligent and have excellent sensory organs that can pick up subtle vibrations in the water.
Dolphins communicate with each other by means of clicks, whistles, and body language, but they also use echolocation to find food at night or when it’s dark out!
Interesting Facts About Dolphins
Here are some really interesting facts about dolphins:
#1 They can live for thirty to fifty years!
#2 Dolphins are intelligent and very social animals who belong in pods together, usually of five to fifty members – but sometimes up to 100!.
#3 In order to find food at night or during the day when it’s dark out, dolphins use echolocation
#4 Dolphins have been known to communicate with people and other animals in dolphin language by using clicks and whistles.
#5 Dolphins can swim very quickly, reaching speeds of up to eighteen miles per hour!
#6 One of my favorite television shows growing up was about a dolphin named Flipper who helped out a marine biologist named Dr. Naomi Madison and her team of helpers, called the dolphin project
#7A dolphin’s dorsal fin usually has distinctive markings that are like fingerprints to identify each individual animal
#8 Some dolphins live in saltwater and other dolphins live in freshwater
#9The dolphin’s tail helps them maneuver quickly and agilely while swimming to chase fish or jump out of the water for a breezy break.
#10 Sadly, dolphins are also often hunted for their meat, which contributes to driving many species of dolphin towards extinction.
How can you help protect them?
There are a number of ways you can help protect dolphins by being aware of the many threats they face.
- You should never feed wild dolphins, as it teaches them that people are a source of food.
- Be aware of the risk to dolphins in fishing gear, and avoid buying any type of fish caught using dolphin-unfriendly nets or methods such as longlining.
- Avoid products made from plastic bags which can be mistaken for food and ingested by sea life.
- Leave wild animals alone so they’re not disturbed while enjoying the natural world.
- Educate yourself about the threats to their habitat and how you can reduce your footprint so they’ll have somewhere safe to swim in the future.
Books About Dolphins You Can Read With Your Child
Here are some great books about dolphins that you can read with your child:
Video of Dolphin Behavior That You Can Watch Together
Movies About Dolphins
Here are a few great movies and documentaries about dolphins you’ll want to check out:
Dolphins Unit Study Ideas
Are you using Apologia’s Zoology II book – Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day?
Well, whether you are or not, here are some great resources for a dolphin unit this year. Be sure to watch the movie Dolphin Tale while you’re at it!
In my house, we are currently reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell aloud. I remember loving this book when I was a girl! It’s based on an amazing true story.
- Dolphin Tale – Classroom Poster and Worksheets from Scholastic
- Dolphins Minibook
- Dolphin Coloring Pages
- Dolphins Lapbook
- Island of the Blue Dolphins Lapbook
- Dolphin Tale Curriculum
- Watercolor Dolphin with Printable Template
- Dolphin Play with Bubble Rings Video
- Dolphin Parenting – National Geographic Video
- Seaworld Teacher Resources
Learning more about dolphins is a fascinating way to spend your time. Whether you want to learn how they communicate, what their habitats are like, or the threats they face from humans and other forces of nature, there’s something out there for everyone!