Killer Whales of the coast

Killer whales are an iconic symbol of the Pacific Northwest and deeply rooted in First Nations culture as a symbol of community and protection. Their complex intellect, behaviour, language, and culture, provide excellent opportunities to learn about adaptations, complex food webs, survival needs, sustainability of systems, and current threats and stewardship.

Killer whales have been a hot topic in the news recently with our local southern resident population diminishing and demonstrating desperate need for imminent conservation efforts to avoid extinction.  It is important now, more than ever, to understand about these fascinating creatures and what is at stake.


All programs are tailored to suit each grade level
Grades: K-12
Duration: 75 mins
Location: In-Class
Languages: Available in English and French

+Activities include

  • Distinguishing linguistics among killer whales
  • Echolocation simulation activity
  • Brainstorming cause and effect of actions
  • Oil-spill experiment and analysis
  • Identifying common objects serving as the biggest threats to the ocean and solution-based approaches to threats.

+Classroom requirements

  • Projector
  • Desks and students pre-arranged in groups of 5-6
  • Sink
  • Adaptations of local animals (K)
  • Features and behavioural adaptations of animals in the local environment that help them survive (Gr.1)
  • Local First Peoples knowledge of local animals
  • Understanding how living things have life cycles adapted to their environment (Gr.1-2)
  • Examining biodiversity in the local environment (Gr. 3)
  • Sensing and responding of animals to their environment (Gr. 4)
  • Evolution of organisms over time (Gr.7)
  • Survival needs (Gr.7)
  • Significance of Killer whales in First Nations culture
  • The relationship of micro-organisms with living things (Gr. 8)
  • First People knowledge of interconnections and sustainability (Gr. 9)
  • Sustainability of systems (Gr.9-12)
  • Practicing scientific methods of observation, investigation, data collection and interpretation of results (Gr.6-12)
  • Relationships and interactions in ecosystems (Gr. 11)
  • Environmental stressors (Gr. 11)
  • Benefits of healthy ecosystems (Gr. 11)
  • Adaptations and extinctions (Gr. 11)
  • Unsustainable and sustainable ecosystem practices (Gr. 11)
  • Understanding current threats to local ecosystems (all grades)
  • Providing steps students can take to help conserve the local environment (all grades)