Have you ever tried to give directions on a noisy street corner? Or struggled to carry on a conversation in a crowded restaurant?

Background noise can make communication very difficult. The same is true for whales – and the ocean is noisier than you might think! Welcome to Shouting Whales, a comprehensive teaching resource designed to help you bring marine science into your classroom with ease.

Ocean Alive

Inspired by Ocean Networks Canada’s extensive film project, Ocean Alive, Shouting Whales is a comprehensive teaching resource. The Ocean Alive segment featured here showcases the marine soundscape, the life of marine mammals, and the impacts of noise pollution. The Shouting Whales resource expands on this segment, offering multimedia, activities, and projects for your class.

Introduction to this Resource

Shouting Whales is a teacher resource for grades 6 to 8. It was developed jointly by Ocean Networks Canada and Open School BC in an effort to help teachers easily bring ocean science into the classroom. This package is intended to allow teachers to "plug in and play" an introductory inquiry unit in marine science, specifically in the fields of marine biology and acoustics.

This map depicts the overlapping ranges of harmful noise pollution and shipping traffic within the Northern and Southern Orca Whales' habitat, along the west of British Columbia.

Through this unit, students will investigate the science of sound as well as acoustical data collected by hydrophones on Ocean Networks Canada’s underwater observatories. Using this data and additional evidence, students will be asked to think critically about how whales experience the marine soundscape. The unit focuses on various human-made sounds in the marine environment, and asks students to extrapolate on how marine mammals (specifically killer whales) may function in their changing ecosystem.

This unit culminates with a student-lead project in which students are challenged to come up with an action plan to either inform, elicit action, or inspire legislation about the marine environment.

Key features:

• Free and fully downloadable – if you don’t have Internet access in your classroom, you can download each lesson package and access everything from your local drive
• Comprehensive – contains all the media you need to implement the lesson plans as well as links to relevant websites, rubrics, student questions, and videos
• Flexible – lessons can be presented in any order and can be used independently or as a complete unit
• Adaptable – lessons and rubrics are provided in Microsoft Word format so they can be easily modified to suit your needs

This resource includes:

• A Teacher’s Guide (doc| pdf) containing a detailed overview of the unit, as well as a guide to the structure of the lesson plans
• Seven lesson plans that outline activities and projects you can do with your class
• Video interviews with researchers from Ocean Networks Canada, the University of Victoria and the Vancouver Aquarium that relate directly to the lesson topics
• Acoustical data (audio, spectrograms, and waveform diagrams) from the Ocean Networks Canada hydrophone array, including whale calls, ship noises, and other anthropogenic and natural sounds
• Relevant weblinks
• Assessment questions for each lesson

Overview of the Lessons

The Shouting Whales unit is made up of seven lessons, designed with flexibility in mind. Use them together or individually; follow the suggested sequence or mix it up. You are also encouraged to edit the lessons to suit your needs.

A detailed overview of the unit, as well as a guide to the structure of the lesson plans, can be found in A Teacher’s Guide to Shouting Whales.

Download the Teacher’s Guide   PDF version | Word version

Now, start exploring! You can access the lesson pages using the drop down menu above.

About Ocean Networks Canada

Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, operates the world-leading NEPTUNE and VENUS cabled ocean observatories for the advancement of science and the benefit of Canada. These observatories support transformative coastal to deep ocean research and technology. They enable real-time interactive experiments focused on ocean health, ecosystems, resources, natural hazards, climate change, and marine conservation.

VENUS Observatory

  • Situated between Vancouver Island and the Mainland in the Strait of Georgia and Saanich Inlet
  • 44 km array of fibre optic cables
  • 4 operational nodes
  • Coastal radars
  • Underwater gliders
  • Instruments mounted on ferries
  • Depths: surface - 300 m

NEPTUNE Observatory

  • Situated off the west coast of Vancouver Island, extending 300 km offshore, down the continental slope and across the Juan De Fuca tectonic plate
  • 850 km loop of fibre optic cables
  • 5 operational nodes
  • Remotely Operated Robot – Wally
  • Vertical Profiling System
  • Buoy Profiling System
  • Depths: 23 m - 2660 m


Do you have questions about this resource? Would you like to share your feedback with us? Would you be willing to tell us how you used this resource with your class?

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Shouting Whales: A Marine Science Teaching Resource by Ocean Networks Canada and Open School BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License - See more at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

Instructional Design and Planning

Ellyn Davidson, Education Coordinator (Post-Secondary), Ocean Networks Canada
Natasha Ewing, Education Coordinator (K-12), Ocean Networks Canada
Kristen Kanes, Underwater Acoustic Analyst, Ocean Networks Canada
Amelita Kucher, Teacher, Mount Douglas Secondary School (SD61)
Nicole Lorusso, Teacher, Queen Margaret’s School
Del Morgan, Teacher, Royal Oak Middle School (SD63)
Monika Pelz, Teacher on Call (SD63) and K-12 Marine Science Activity Developer, Ocean Networks Canada
Jergus Priboj, Teacher, Collaborative Education Alternative Program (SD69)
Barbara Ratzburg, UBC Informal Practicum Student, Ocean Networks Canada
Brianne Reddekopp, UBC Informal Practicum Student, Ocean Networks Canada
Jennifer Riddel, Educational Project Manager, Open School BC


Monika Pelz, Teacher on Call (SD63) and K-12 Marine Science Activity Developer, Ocean Networks Canada


Natasha Ewing, Education Coordinator (K-12), Ocean Networks Canada
Nicole Lorusso, Teacher, Queen Margaret’s School
Jennifer Riddel, Educational Project Manager, Open School BC


Leanne Baugh, Writer/Editor, Open School BC
Cindy John Editor

Layout and Design

Janet Bartz, Manager of Instructional Media, Open School BC
Beverly Hooks, Production Technician, Open School BC
Christine Ramkeesoon, Instructional Media Analyst, Open School BC


Given Davies (Race Rocks 3D)
John Dorocic (Acoustic Systems Developer, Ocean Networks Canada)
Ocean Networks Canada
Mark Tanberg (Race Rocks 3D)