Monterey Bay, on the beautiful coast of California, sits above a giant underwater canyon, or wide crack in the ocean floor. It gives sea life a wonderful safe spot to live, so all kinds of awesome ocean creatures live in the bay – whales, dolphins, sea lions, and all kinds of fish. Every spring even more animals move in, thanks to cold water rising up from the ocean floor. More teeny fish move in, which brings in the bigger fish who eat them, then the seals who eat those fish, then orcas who eat the seals. But this year the explosion of sea life is even bigger, thanks to strong winds and extra fish last year. It’s such a boom that during class at Stanford University’s marine lab there, a whole group of humpback whales will swim by and the teacher can’t keep any of his students’ attention – he just has to stop teaching and let the kids watch out the window until the whales swim away!
Wee ones: If you spot 3 big sea lions and a baby sea lion, how many cool animals can you see?
Little kids: Here we see 3 humpback whales breach (pop out of the water) to gulp down the dozens of little anchovies also flying into the air. If each whale catches 100 little fish, how many fish get eaten? Bonus: If they all do the same trick again, now how many have they eaten?
Big kids: Normally the bay has about 400 humpback whales living there. This year they think there are 2,000. How many more whales is that? Bonus: How many times as many whales is it?
Wee ones: 4 animals.
Little kids: 300 fish. Bonus: 600 fish.
Big kids: 1,600 more whales. Bonus: 5 times as many whales as usual.
And thank you to Jen G. for suggesting this great math topic!