Literature Connection:

Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? By Robert Wells

Mathematical Strand:



Number Sense for Large Numbers

Grade level:


Lesson created by:

Marilyn Kilgore, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS

Lesson Description:


  • The book Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?, pencil, Calculating Bat Benefits worksheet, and a calculator.

1.Launching the lesson (engage):

  1. Talk about numbers and how long it might take to count to100, 1000, and 1,000,000. (See inside cover of book)
  2. Read the story
  3. Talk about the biggest thing that students have seen in real life. Discuss the importance of being familiar with different measurements to be able to visualize measurement mentally and realistically. Discuss logical responses.

2.Developing the lesson

  1. Go outside and show students the approximate size of one acre in the parking lot.
  2. Return to the class and discuss the Rainforest unit in reference to saving rainforest acres. Discuss how many acres of rainforest are destroyed every second, ask how much that is in a minute and then in a day. Refer again to measurement and size.
  3. Discuss bats and the importance of bats to a rainforest. (This is a review since the science teacher discussed this). Hand out Calculating Bat Benefits worksheet. Students will use different units of measurement to calculate benefits of bats to a rainforest. Hopefully a picture will appear in the mind of students how our endeavor to save rainforest acres may be small but in the BIG picture we can do something in our world.


  1. Ask the students how big is big. Discuss.
  2. Students could find the area and perimeter of and acre, a football field etc.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University