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4-6th Grade Virtual Book Discussion: A Whale of the Wild w / Sound Experiment

A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Perry is a juvenile fiction book, probably best for 4-7th graders.

When a young orca whale is separated from her pod, she must do whatever it takes to find her way home.

For Vega, family is everything... well, family and the salmon the keeps her family alive. But Vega is young and has not yet learned everything she needs to know to lead her family. So, when tragedy strikes, Vega swims off on her own instead of staying with her pod.

Suddenly, disaster strikes, the ocean shakes and Vega and her brother Deneb are forced into the deep, further from home than they have ever been.

Will Vega be able to take charge of the situation and become the leader she needs to be to get her and her younger brother home?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

  2. A Whale of the Wild is considered anthropomorphic fiction. What does this mean? What other books have you read with animals as narrators?

  3. In Vega’s family a “Wayfinder” is considered the head of the family. What is a Wayfinder and what is their role in the pod?

  4. Whales are social creatures. How does Vega and the rest of her pod communicate and navigate in the story?

  5. Stories are an important part of Vega’s life. Why is this? Can you compare the role of stories in this book to human history?

  6. Why does Vega run away from her family? What does family mean to Vega?

  7. Greatmother say, “The Wayfinder's do not agree about whether humans make families” (p. 93)? How do Vega’s feelings about humans change as she observes them? Why does Deneb help humans back to their boats?

  8. What did you think was happening when all of the animals started fleeing to the deeper ocean? Would you consider the ocean ecosystem a community?

  9. When Vega sees all the salmon being eaten, what does she realize is happen? Let’s talk about ecosystems!

  10. What other anthropomorphic fiction would you like to read? What animal’s story would you like to hear?

Sound Experiment

Supplies: 2 different sized Metal Spoon, Wooden Ruler, Yarn

In this experiment we are going to at how sound travels. When a ‘noise’ is made, it creates sound waves and travel through the air to our ears.

The Experiment:

  • Make a loop in the middle of the yarn so that you can tighten around the handle of the spoon. Pull tightly. The spoon should hang in the center of the yarn with two long pieces on either side.

  • Take each string and wrap them around both your pointer fingers.

  • Then push the string against each ear (not into the ear but just outside). The spoon should hang just below the waist.

  • Once the string in pushed against the ears, have someone GENTLY hit the ruler against the round part of the spoon.

  • As you do the experiment, change how high or low the spoon hangs to see if it changes the sound. You can also test to see if hitting the spoon harder or softer changes the sound.

“When the ruler hits the spoon, it creates vibrations which make sound waves. These sound waves travel up the yarn/string and to the ear instead of just spreading out into the air around you. The yarn acts as a conductor — an object that allows sound waves to travel. Depending on the size of the spoon and the length of yarn, the sound will appear higher (like a church bell) or deeper (like a gong). And because the yarn allows the sound waves to continue to travel, the sound of the spoon will resonate or reverberate — meaning they will continue for a while after you have hit the spoon.”

We are also going to play with a free frequency app to show the kids how sound, sounds at different frequencies. I've used Tone Gen in the past but there are many tone generators out there.


How'd it go:

We had an awesome book club, especially since Rosanne Parry actually popped in and said high to the kids for about fifteen minutes! It was totally unexpected and I rode the high for the rest of the day.

That's all for now!


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