Curriculum: The Whale's Stomach & Environmental Justice
Preview: The bag of items represents the stomach contents of a dying, 28-foot female sperm whale found on a beach in North Carolina in December, 1992. Veterinarians concluded that none but the smallest pieces of plastic could have passed through the whale’s intestinal tract, and that the garbage was a large contributing factor to, if not the entire reason for, the whale’s death. It is assumed that sperm whales either mistake plastic for food, or, perhaps more likely, go after squid that are hiding in and around the garbage and accidentally swallow the plastic as well. Finding plastic in whales is uncommon, but this is not an isolated incident. Most whales who die do so off shore and are not found by people.
Level: Grade 4 and up
Time: 15-45 minutes
Relevant subjects: Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies
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