Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures

Using Ocean Adventures in the Classroom
A Word from Jean-Michel Cousteau
Educator Guide to Voyage to Kure
Educator Guide to Sharks at Risk
Educator Guide to The Gray Whale Obstacle Course
Educator Guide to America's Underwater Treasures
Educator Guide to Return to the Amazon
Educator Guide to Sea Ghosts (Belugas)
Educator Guide to Call of the Killer Whale
The Watershed Quest
Tips for Using Science Multimedia
Educator Web Links
Download Library
Outreach Partners


Educator Guide to The Gray Whale Obstacle Course

Jean-Michel Cousteau and his team follow gray whales from their birthplace in the warm waters of Baja California, Mexico, to their nutrient-rich feeding grounds in the Bering Sea in Alaska in order to document and understand the variety of natural and man-made hurdles that these creatures must overcome in order to survive. The amazing expedition unlocks seldom-seen views of tragedy and triumph along a route that is nearly 12,000 miles long.

The Gray Whale Obstacle Course Viewing Guide: Your students will be gray whale adaptation and migration experts at the conclusion of these activities. Hands-on and critical-thinking exercises extend the value of this Ocean Adventures episode. Also included are Viewing Questions to engage students while they watch the program, clips recommended for classroom use and specially selected lesson plans developed by ocean experts.

Whale Watcher Lesson: Students capture whale behaviors on film in the Web-based game Whale Watcher. Use the accompanying lesson plan to delve further into these behavioral adaptations.

The Gray Whale Obstacle Course Adventures: study behaviors of animals in your own backyard, go whale watching, or join a migration data collection effort.

Because teachers don't have time to research additional materials, the Ocean Adventures education team has handpicked these lessons to complement The Gray Whale Obstacle Course:

  • Whale Adaptations (PDF): Use this collection of hands-on activities to experience simulations of whale adaptations.
  • San Ignacio Lagoon: Ecology or Economy? (PDF): Investigate the various sides of the debate on the best use of the Mexican lagoons where the gray whales calve and in which salt is plentiful.
  • Gray Whales on the Move (PDF): Track two gray whales along their migration route using longitude and latitude and interpret data for two migrating whales.
  • Journey North (at This is a "citizen science" site where students can log local data they have collected, view data collected by others, and engage in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. The site includes K-12 lesson plans and activities specific to gray whales and their migration.

Download Library: Download pictures of migrating gray whales and the species they encounter on their journey as well as sounds from the ocean.

Educator Web Links: Expand your curriculum with recommendations from the Ocean Adventures education team.

All Ocean Adventures Educational Materials: View all of the lessons and activities Ocean Adventures has to offer.

PDF File Format
These Ocean Adventures lessons and other materials are available as printer-friendly PDFs (Portable Document Format). To download and view the lesson plans as a PDF, you may first have to get Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for free on Adobe's Web site. The Reader is available for most computer platforms, and once downloaded the lessons may be viewed on-screen as well as printed out. Get Acrobat Reader software (at