Meet Winter the Dolphin - Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida
Winter’s Tail Virtual Field Trip

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About This Lesson Plan

SUBJECT
Animals

GRADE
5

DURATION
1 Hr

UNIT PLAN
Winter's Tail: Lessons & Printables

Meet Winter the Dolphin

Dolphin Basics

Students will study the facts about the anatomy of a dolphin and be asked to test what they discovered through a true/false quiz and dolphin map activity.

OBJECTIVE

  • Introduce students to Winter and get an in-depth look at what makes Winter so special.
  • Teach students about dolphin basics through Winter’s story and a dolphin vocabulary word search.

MATERIALS

REPRODUCIBLES

  1. Winter Word Search (PDF)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Tell students that they are going on a virtual field trip Wednesday, October 7 at 1 p.m. to learn more about dolphins—and one very special one named Winter.
  2. Explain to students that Winter is a very special and courageous dolphin. Though she looks and acts like other Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins that live at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Winter has no tail.
  3. Read an excerpt of the book here to introduce students to Winter.
  4. Tell students they will visit Winter on the Web and learn more about how she lost her tail when she was only three months old. Students will get to see her trainers put Winter’s one-of-a-kind prosthetic tail on her.
  5. Explain to students that Winter will always be a little bit shorter than her other pool mates at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which may grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh over 500 pounds. To make up the difference and to make sure her back muscles and bones stay in proper shape, she has a prosthetic tail to help her swim. It’s the first one of its kind and will have to be updated over the years as she grows and learns more about how to swim properly while wearing it.
  6. A dolphin’s tail, known as its flukes, is moves up and down as they swim. This is different from fish or sharks, which move their tails from side to side. In fact, dolphins are not related to fish at all, they’re mammals like you and I. Mammals are warm-blooded, have hair, give live birth and breathe air. Dolphins breathe air through a hole on the top of their head known as a blowhole. They close their blowhole when they dive below the surface and blow any water away from it before they take their next breath. That’s the spray you see when whales and dolphins take a breath. Bottlenose dolphins usually breathe about twice a minute and can hold their breath for several minutes.
  7. Pass out the student printable (PDF) and ask students to identify dolphin vocabulary in a word search.
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