Whale Watching Adventure


Whales are immensely fascinating creatures. Discover how they look when they come to the water’s surface and then dive deep! This science project will be sure to make a splash!


1. Research information about whales. In which oceans do these marine mammals live? Where do they migrate? How many species are there? Compare and contrast the species, including different types of spouts from their blowholes. Note how graceful they look when they come to the surface and then dive back into the water. Find out how global warming is changing whale habitats. What other factors threaten whales?

2. Imagine you are on a whale-watching adventure. Choose a place on the globe, find out what kinds of whales you are likely to see, and then accurately portray one type of whale in its natural habitat in a sculpture. A paper plate is the perfect surface for making this science project.

3. Start by representing the landscape where your chosen whale lives. Are there glaciers? Are mountains covered with glistening ice and snow? Or are there icebergs near a ship in the open sea? Here are some ideas to get you started.

4. To make a realistic-looking glacier, press Crayola Air-Dry Clay flat with your hand. Leave the edges rough. Make a few jagged pieces of mountains for the background. Press glacier pieces on top of the mountains. To add texture to the glaciers, press crumpled aluminum foil into the clay to create crevices.

5. At the base of your sculpture, press your thumb where the water will be. Make lots of indentations to create a rippled effect.

6. Make the whale’s tail by rolling two small balls of clay. Pinch and flatten them into ovals. With your thumb and forefinger, pinch the ends to look like a tail. Press the two pieces together to form a diving whale. To make the whale look as if it’s diving into the icy sea, attach the tail to the water. Create a "splash" by pinching some of the clay around the tale.

7. Add more details if you wish, such as trees in the forest, the name of the place you visited, or a boat drifting in the background. Use modeling tools to add interesting texture.

8. Air-Dry Clay can be painted when wet or dry. Paint your sculpture with Crayola Washable Watercolors or Tempera—right on the paper plate where you sculpted. Remember to rinse your brushes when you change colors. For deep hues, apply several coats because the clay absorbs the paint.

9. To add sparkle to the sea or sheen to glaciers, brush on Crayola Pearl-It! or Glitter-It! Tempera Mixing Medium. Air-dry your whale adventure for at least 3 days before you exhibit it.

10. Orally present information about your whale to your classmates. Be sure to include information about that species’ current status.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.


  • Read Do Whales Ever…..? by Nathalie Ward. It contains many facts about the habits of whales.
  • Chart the different whale species and make a map of where they live.
  • Ask someone in the community who has been on a whale-watching adventure to talk with the class and show photographs.
  • Whaling was an important industry at one time. Is it still allowed today? Where? Why? Why were whales hunted?
  • Find out whether any whales are extinct or on the endangered wild life list. What are the issues resulting in this status?
  • Assessment: Did students accurately portray their chosen whale? Is the whale habitat portrayed in detail? Is the tail the correct shape for the diving whale? Can students intelligently discuss the current status of whales in the world’s oceans?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Arts & Crafts Brushes
  • Air-Dry Clay
  • Tempera Mixing Mediums
household supplies
  • aluminum foil
  • paper plates
  • paper towels
  • modeling tools
  • container(s) of water



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students research the habitats, physical attributes, and threats to whales.

  • Students accurately depict a diving whale in a realistic setting.

  • Students sculpt a whale using a variety of modeling techniques.

  • Students present information about their whales to their classmates.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards