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Year 3 and Year 4 Cross-Curricular Resources Pack: A Whale’s Journey - created in association with Animal Planet magazine

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This unit of work is based around an original story by children’s author Jo Franklin, inspired by articles from Animal Planet magazine. It charts the journey of a blue whale as it migrates across the ocean. The story and linked resources can be used to teach aspects of the science curriculum to pupils in years 3 and 4, with opportunities for cross-curricular writing throughout.

During the unit the pupils will have the opportunity to learn about blue whales: their appearance, their food and habitat. They will also explore how an oil spill may affect whales and other animals that live in the world’s oceans.

Teachers’ notes are included for each of the activities listed below, with relevant resources provided to support teaching and learning.

The activities in this resource pack are:

1. Hook
Explore what pupils already know about blue whales and introduce the topic.

2. Reading: and understanding the story 1
Read the first half of the story and create a story map to sequence the events.

3. Blue whale fact files
Use the story, Animal Planet magazine articles, and other sources, to gather information about blue whales. Create their own magazine article about blue whales.

4. Food chains
Learn about the food chains of blue whales and other animals that live in ocean habitats.

5. Science investigation: Is baleen more effective than teeth when catching small prey?
Investigate whether filtering small food is more effective than using teeth when catching small prey.

6. Reading and understanding the story 2
Finish reading the story and complete the story map to sequence the events.

7. Oil spill
Research how oil spills affect ocean habitats.

8. Writing task: A Whale’s Journey
Pupils will write their own stories based on the model text ‘A Whale’s Journey’ by Jo Franklin.

What is Animal Planet Magazine?

This pack has been created in association with Animal Planet Magazine, which fuels curious minds and delivers on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way.

To find out more, and register your interest in a school subscription, visit www.animalplanetmagazine.com/schools



  • Model text: A Whale's Journey, by Jo Franklin
  • Contents overview
  • Activity 1 - blue whale images; blue whale question cards; teacher notes
  • Activity 2 - teacher notes
  • Activity 3 - teacher notes; fact file sheets; Animal Planet magazine article, 'Earth's Giants'
  • Activity 4 - teacher notes; food chain cards; answers; PowerPoint
  • Activity 5 - teacher notes; science investigation instructions; science investigation write-up sheet; whale teeth and baleen images; PowerPoint
  • Activity 6 - teacher notes
  • Activity 7 - teacher notes; oil spill images; oil spill question cards; research sheet; newspaper planning sheet; blank newspaper template; PowerPoint
  • Activity 8 - teacher notes; journey story poster; journey story plan; writing paper
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