Lesson # 2

Products from Right Whales (History/Social Studies)

Objectives:

Students will read about whale uses and answer comprehension questions.

Students will apply what they have read to list right whale products.

Materials:

Products from Whales worksheet

Writing tools

Chart paper

Teacher Background:

This lesson has been developed to help teachers explain to their students how whales were used as resources of living for hunters of the 1800’s. Teachers should encourage critical thinking in their students as they discuss right whales and how and why they were hunted.

Procedure:

    Baleen
  1. Discuss how hunting wiped out a large portion of the right whale population. Tell students how right whale got its name. Explain to students how the hunters sold parts of the whale to make money. Ask the students how they think hunters could make money from the whale parts. Why did the hunters sell whale parts to make money?
  2. Brainstorm students ideas of what resources hunters may have used right whales for in the past. Write brainstorm on chart paper and add students ideas as they give them. Ask students how they think hunters used the different parts of the whale and have students explain their thinking.
  3. Read story on worksheet with class. Briefly discuss uses listed in story. Have students work as you wish (independently/groups) to answer the questions about the story. Initiate a whole group discussion to discuss student’s answers.
  4. Encourage critical thinking by asking students if they think hunting so many whales was necessary to live. Were hunters wasting the whales, or were they using the whale parts wisely and living off of nature?

Follow up Activities:

Have students go home and share what they have learned with a family member or someone that they live know and is older than them. Encourage students to have a discussion about right whale hunting at home. Carry discussion about whale uses over to next social studies/history class session by having students share ideas from their at home discussions.

Homework/ Assessment:

Have students complete diagram of whale showing how parts of whale were used. Have students list products hunters got from whales.

Have students write or draw a picture about their thoughts about whale hunting. Give trigger questions such as: Did hunters hunt these whales so that they could live off the whales? Was it fair for the hunters to use whales in these ways?

Discuss assignment in next class. Have students share their thoughts and ideas about right whale hunting.

Name__________________ Date_______________

Products from Whales

Read the story and answer the questions below.

Whales have been hunted for hundreds of years. People probably first hunted whales for food. But soon, many uses were found for the different parts of the whale. In the 1700’s and 1800’s, the whale’s blubber was boiled down for oil. The oil was used for fuel for lamps, cooking, leather tanning, and making soap and paint. Baleen or whale bone was used to stiffen collars and ladies’ corsets, fishing rods, umbrella ribs, and whips.

People used the bones from whales to produce beautifully carved objects known as scrimshaw. Scrimshaw was made by first smoothing and polishing an object, such as a whale’s bone. Then a design or picture was scratched into the bone’s surface with a sharp edge. Finally, colored links were used to fill in the engraved lines.

Sailors in the 1800’s made scrimshaw to pass the time. They engraved scenes of activities as sea, or copied pictures from books. Scrimshaw was used to decorate useful objects such as knife and tool handles, or just as souvenirs of travels to far off lands. Today it has survived as a folk art, with most scrimshaw being made for jewelry and decoration.

  1. What is the main idea for the first paragraph? ________________________________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________________________________
  2. Name at least 3 products once made from whale parts. ________________________________________________________________________________
  3. What is scrimshaw? ________________________________________________________________________________
  4. How is scrimshaw made? ________________________________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________________________________

Name Answer Key

Products from Whales

Read the story and answer the questions below.

Whales have been hunted for hundreds of years. People probably first hunted whales for food. But soon, many uses were found for the different parts of the whale. In the 1700’s and 1800’s, the whale’s blubber was boiled down for oil. The oil was used for fuel for lamps, cooking, leather tanning, and making soap and paint. Baleen or whale bone was used to stiffen collars and ladies’ corsets, fishing rods, umbrella ribs, and whips.

People used the bones from whales to produce beautifully carved objects known as scrimshaw. Scrimshaw was made by first smoothing and polishing an object, such as a whale’s bone. Then a design or picture was scratched into the bone’s surface with a sharp edge. Finally, colored links were used to fill in the engraved lines.

Sailors in the 1800’s made scrimshaw to pass the time. They engraved scenes of activities as sea, or copied pictures from books. Scrimshaw was used to decorate useful objects such as knife and tool handles, or just as souvenirs of travels to far off lands. Today it has survived as a folk art, with most scrimshaw being made for jewelry and decoration.

1. What is the main idea for the first paragraph?

The main idea for the first paragraph is that the various parts of the whale were used to make different products.

  1. Name at least 3 products once made from whale parts.
  2. Lamp oil, soap, paint, fishing rods, umbrella ribs, whips, stiffening materials for collars and corsets, food, cooking oil, and tanned leather.

  3. What is scrimshaw?
  4. Scrimshaw is an engraved picture or design made on the bones of whales.

  5. How is scrimshaw made?

Scrimshaw is made by first polishing and smoothing the surface of the bone, then scratching a design in the bone’s surface, and finally filling in the engraved lines with colored inks.

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