Stretching 3000km along the western coast of Australia is a 'whale super highway'. Internationally considered to have the world's largest annual migration of humpback whales, this coastline sees more than 35,000 humpbacks travel between their Antarctic feeding grounds and their breeding sites in the warm waters of the Kimberley. With numbers booming, their population bounce-back from the devastation of industrial whaling is in stark contrast to that of another species that comes to feed off this coast every year.
A relative of the largest animal ever known to have existed and with a gigantic appetite, the pygmy blue whale, measuring a whopping twenty-four metres, is a 'smaller' subspecies of the Antarctic blue whale. They enter this highway at the same time each year to feed on the vast abundance of krill that swarms in the deep waters of the Perth Canyon. Despite the same protective measures applied to these leviathans, pygmy blue whale numbers remain very low.
Whale Super Highway sets out to share the journey of these extraordinary creatures to try and help understand how marine scientists and the world alike can continue to preserve this essential ocean route.
Whale Super Highway is suitable for students undertaking:
• YEAR 6–10 SCIENCE (with applications in UNIT 1 OF SENIOR BIOLOGY)
• YEAR 9–10 HISTORY
• YEAR 7–10 MEDIA ARTS with further links to Year 7–10 English and the Crosscurricular priority of Sustainability.
As a curriculum resource in Science, Whale Super Highway is primarily relevant to the Biological Sciences strand of Science Understanding, with applications in Earth and Space Science. Investigations and observations suggested by the program allow students to develop their Science Inquiry skills, while connections to questions of sustainability and conservation ensures that this resource is also applicable to the Science as a Human Endeavour criterion.
As a curriculum resource in History, Whale Super Highway is primarily relevant to topics associated with the Industrial Revolution and modern Australian history. These descriptors are primarily found in the sub-activities under the Whales and the Environment heading.
As a curriculum resource in Design and Technologies, Whale Super Highway is relevant to the Knowledge and Understanding strand. In Media Arts, the program provides the opportunity for students to explore technical and symbolic elements in the context of a Fulldome documentary.
Teachers are advised to consult the Australian Curriculum online at https://www.australiancurriculum. edu.au and curriculum outlines relevant to their state or territory for further information.