UT Literacy

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Multimedia Bibliography – Dolphins

By Harry Ostlund

The purpose of this multimedia bibliography is to provide fourth through sixth grade students with an opportunity to explore the undersea world of dolphins through the use of books, eBooks, digital resources, the internet and community resources such as libraries, aquariums, and educational institutions. When I was growing up I was extremely lucky to live within walking distance of the Brooklyn Aquarium. On the weekends I attended programs such as Breakfast with the Dolphins, where we literally had breakfast with the dolphins, though we had to clean their fish first. These interactive and innovate programs provided us with enrichment experiences and firsthand knowledge of the behind the scene operations that we could never have obtained in any other setting. The aquarium, library and the public schools were committed to working together to provide city youngsters with authentic interdisciplinary learning experiences. Educational programs offered by these three educational institutions such as the yearlong Marine Teen Program provided middle school students with access to the unlimited resources. Middle school students who were selected to participate in these programs interviewed the staff of the aquarium and experienced the behind the scenes procedures, routines and protocols. They participated in ongoing research and worked alongside marine biologists and veterinarians. Working alongside the IT department they contributed their input by assisting with the designing an educational computer game. These authentic experiences inspired many of the students to pursue careers in the sciences. Students who participated in the Marine Teen Program had the opportunity to process, analyze, synthesize and learn about dolphins and marine life in a unique environment. The students gained a sensible understanding of the dolphins and of marine life that they could not have obtained in another setting. Though the local library provides many multimedia resources that could initiate a desire to learn more about dolphins and marine life this unique experience was enhanced by our visits to the aquarium. By reading and researching various publications, watching podcasts, videos, and live feeds, and engaging in authentic hands- on lessons the students were actively engaged in learning about dolphins and other subject matter. The materials presented in this multimedia bibliography will assist students become active learners by analyzing, questioning and narrating their individual learning experiences. Until they can visit the aquarium the internet provides students with opportunities to observe dolphin interactions through love webcams, and through online courses.


Carney, Elizabeth. (2012). National Geographic Kids Everything Dolphins, Dolphin Facts,Photos, and Fun that Will Make You Flip. National Geographic Children’s Books.

Dolphins are as bright and as curious as humans. Perhaps that is why we are fascinated by them. Inside this informative chapter book youngsters discover how dolphins live in family groups called pods, give birth to live babies, tail first and breathe air. The amazing photographs and bold text teach young children how dolphins are not fish but are mammals, how they were meant to live on land but were forced into the sea. This educational book is packed with scientific facts and photographs that will captivate your child. A must have for all beginning marine biologists.

George, Twig. C. (1998). A Dolphin Named Bob. HarperCollins.

After a storm a bottlenose dolphin washed up on the beach. Rescued by Mrs. Lee and taken to the Baltimore Aquarium the aquarium staff saved her and named her Aster. She thrived at the aquarium for several years and then at age eleven she gave birth to a dolphin calf named Bob. Born with an unusual comet shaped birth mark on his drooping dorsal fin, Bob was weak and tiny compared to other calves. The aquariums staff did not expect him to survive. But Bob surprised them, just like his mother Aster did when she first arrived. Bob gets well and soon he was performing tricks alongside his mother. Bob becomes the star of the aquarium. This amazing true story with its happy ending will delight youngsters and encourage them to never give up.

Grover, Wayne. (1990). Dolphin Adventure A True Story, HarperCollins.

Based on a true event, a professional deep sea diver Wayne Grover recalls how a pod of dolphins, two adults and a baby swim around him until he notices the baby of the pod was bleeding and had a fishing hook embedded in its back and fishing line wrapped around its tail. Mr. Grover describes a remarkable and poignant tale with the untamed dolphin family. Using his diving knife Grover carefully performs underwater surgery. He cut away the line and removed the hook but the baby dolphin’s bleeding attracted two hungry sharks. The large male dolphin attacked the sharks saving the baby dolphin and Mr. Grover. Two weeks later Grover is out on his boat and recognized the scar on the tail of the young dolphin swimming by in a pod of dolphins. The story ends happily for the baby dolphin and teaches readers about the dangers hooks and lines can bring to dolphins.

Orr, Katherine. (1993). Story of a Dolphin. Carolrhoda Books.

Based on a true event that occurred near the Caribbean island of Providenciales, a young girl recalls how a bottlenose dolphin and her father became friendly. Everyday her father would take a group of tourists out to sea on his boat to dive in the ocean. One day a stray dolphin appeared and swam around them. Over the next several months the dolphin and the girl’s father begin to swim together. Then one day their playfulness almost turned into a tragedy. This true story teaches us dolphins are unpredictable and aggressive with each other and with humans, so we need to be careful when we enter the water with a dolphin. Illustrated with full-color, full-spread paintings of island vegetation and ocean life in the blues, greens, and pinks that are present on the Caribbean islands.

Schaefer, Patricia. P. (2012). Dolphins from A to Z . Shaefer.

A superbly photographed book simultaneously teaches young children their ABC’s and presents them with scientific facts about bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins are alone, in pods, under the water, and as close to the shore as they could possible come. Photographed playfully swimming, catching fish and leaping from the water these amazing sea creatures present young children with powerful inspirational images that are unforgettable. Every child will want to reach out and touch the pages of this truly impressive book.

Wlodarski, Loran. (2007). If a Dolphin Were a Fish . Sylvan Dell Publishing.

Delfina is a young bottlenose dolphin who imagines she becomes her underwater sea friends. She imagines what it would be like to be a manatee, a fish, an octopus, a turtle, and even a bird. Young readers will learn that fish have gills and breathe underwater and bottlenose dolphins have a blowhole and must swim to the surface for air. As children turn the pages and encounter a new sea creature they learn a new scientific fact. The imaginative story is filled with soft colored pencil illustrations that complement the text of this educational underwater adventure.


Winter, the Dolphin That Could. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.seewinter.com/winter

Winter was found washed up on the beach with a crab trap line wrapped around her tail. She was transported to the Clearwater Museum Aquarium. Winter’s tail was infected and had to be amputated. The staff at the Clearwater Museum Aquarium didn’t think Winter would survive. A veterinarian, marine biologist, and a local doctor invent an artificial tail for Winter that has helped her stay alive. A live webcam feed lets you observe Winter as she swims about her daily routines, and interacts with her trainers.This exceptional dolphin’s story has helped hundreds of children who have become disabled. Winter has become a mascot for these children inspiring them to do more than survive. Read their true heartwarming and inspiring stories on Winter’s site.

Scholastic Inc. (2012). Retrieved from Scholastic.com: http://teacher.scholastic.com/dolphin/index.htm

While on scholastic’s web site children explore the “Wild Animal Watch” series and meet a pod of dolphins swimming in the ocean. The pod swims, leaps in the air and herds a group of fish for dinner. Marine biologists expertly film this underwater sea adventure and bring back some incredible footage of dolphin behaviors in the wild. Come under the ocean waves and discover how dolphins exist with one another and with humans. Great interactive web site with active multimedia links and a wonderful question and answer session at the end of the series that provides children with opportunities to have their questions answered.

National Geographic. (2012). Retrieved from NationalGeographic.com: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/bottlenose-dolphin/

Once you access the site you will discover multiple pages with information about dolphins.One page decodes the secret language of dolphins, another page presents a video of dolphins searching for anchovies, the dolphins use team work to locate and push the anchovies up to the surface where the dolphins can easily catch them. This site not only teaches about dolphins but about all of the underwater animals dolphins live with. You can explore the ocean, travel around the globe and learn many exciting facts on this website.

Animal Planet. (2012). Retrieved from AnimalPlanet.com: http://animal.discovery.com/features/dolphins/sound/sound.html

Animal planet has an interactive anatomy segment, roll the mouse over a portion of the dolphin and discover what is beneath their smooth skin. Did you know the bones in their flippers are similar to our hands. Want to discover more check out this interactive website. Click on the links and find out how dolphins use echolocation, discover how dolphins communicate, Watch a dolphin video and listen to scientists talk about their encounters with dolphins.

Cousteau Coustodians of the Sea . (2012). Retrieved from http://www.cousteau.org: http://www.cousteau.org/cousteau-kids/cousteau-kids

Cousteau had introduced us the amazing world under the sea. This web site contains videos of dolphins leaping in the air, swimming in pods and swimming with Cousteau. In interviews Cousteau describes how it feels to be in the water with these amazingly intelligent creatures. He narrates a video describing their life underwater and their family relationships. Cousteau talks about the environmental changes to the ocean caused by man and how these changes are affecting the dolphins. Informative and interactive this website motivates the viewer to actively try and help the dolphins by signing petitions and ending the use of steel nets to catch tuna.

Videos and Films:

PBS (Director). (2011). Science Girls: Dolphin Dive [Motion Picture]: www.pbs.org/teachers/scigirls/activities/dolphindive/Sea

Students can watch this episode of the SciGirls. Serena and Sassy are the SciGirls and they meet research scientist and dolphin trainer Jill at the aquarium. Together they investigate and learn to understand the fifteen dolphins that live at the natural sea water facility. They learn how to recognize the individual dolphins by their unique dorsal fins or their unique sounds. They observe the dolphins as they play and live under the sea.

Dixon, K. (Director). (2011). Bay of the Bottlenose Dolphin [Motion Picture].

A documentary investigating the waters of Cardigan Bay and the bottlenose dolphins that reside there. Bay of the Bottlenose Dolphin filmed over the course of several weeks by Katherine Dixon with the assistance of the Sea Watch Foundation, a marine mammal research organization working to preserve life in the ocean. The superbly filmed documentary provides viewers with a unique underwater experience.

McCabe, B. (Director). (2010). Under the Sea With Dolphins [Motion Picture]. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/video/Under-the-Sea-with-Dolphins.html

Produced by the Smithsonian, the scientist swam in the Red Sea and filmed their underwater encounter with a pod of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins do not appear to mind the scientists filming and continue swimming about. The film follows a pod, which is the scientific name for family as they look for food, swim together, and explore the Red Sea. In this underwater video viewers observe the dolphins interacting with each other and with other sea creatures in their natural environment. The narrator provides the viewer with an explanation of what the dolphins are doing and why they may be doing it. Since we really don’t know what dolphins are thinking the narrator offers his best guess and gives us a chance to engage in wondering what the dolphins are thinking.


Eco-Wonders, B. a. (Composer). (2011). Clickety-Clack . [B. a. Eco-Wonders, Performer] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwGzse0z718

A song for children about dolphins and echolocationClick, squeal, whistle and squawk of the dolphins are added to the rhymes and tunes of this educational song. Sing about dolphins, their communication and echolocation in this fun, sing-a-long video for kids by Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders.

Community resources:

Texas State Aquarium:

Come visit Dolphin Bay and meet Shadow and Kai our two male bottlenose dolphins. Residing in their four hundred thousand gallon saltwater tank these two male dolphins are breathtaking to view. Visitors can experience these majestic marine mammals above the water as well as below, in the aquarium’s unique underwater viewing room, which features a seventy-foot acrylic window. Enjoy the dolphin show and meet their trainers, join a dolphin encounter or just view these remarkable animals, this will be a marvelous adventure.

Texas State: Aquavision. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.texasstateaquarium.org: http://www.texasstateaquarium.org/index.php/aquavision–distance-learning

Broadcast live from the Flint Hills Resources Distance Learning Studio at the Texas State Aquarium! Through a series of real-time cameras, students can view and learn about the animals of the Gulf of Mexico! These fifty minute programs are packed full of educational information and provides children with pre videoconference and post videoconference activities and hands-on interaction throughout the program. This program stimulates the imagination and motivates youngsters to learn all they can about dolphins.

Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.tmmsn.org/: http://www.tmmsn.org/default.htm

Created in 1980, the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to the understanding and conservation of marine mammals through education, rescue and rehabilitation. Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network provides a coordinated response to dolphin stranding along the coast of Texas offers educational programs to educate young visitors,
sponsors a 1K, 5K, and 10K, run for the entire family to raise money for dolphin awareness. Volunteer and become part of the solution, you will love this program.

Kidzone. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.wdcs.org: http://www.wdcs.org/wdcskids/en/index.php

This interactive website takes kids under the sea to learn more about dolphins and their environment. Listen to the fascinating sounds dolphins make as they communicate with one another. Click on the dolphin and learn what you can do to save the dolphins from the tuna nets, join the animated characters Tom and Lilly as they guide you through an undersea adventure. Read the eBook, “All About Dolphins,” watch a video and paint a dolphin picture all on this awesome website will entertain and inform you child for hours.

Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.miragehabitat.com: http://www.miragehabitat.com/pages/student_lessons_dolphin.asp

This interactive web site teaches children about the dolphins’ habitat. Divers explore the underwater environment dolphins call home. Observe the dolphins as they swim together, use their bottlenose to push around the sand on the ocean floor, use echolocation to seek out schools of fish, and look inside and discover how similar their anatomy is to our own. This fun interactive educational site provides up to date details on the dolphins they are currently researching.


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