Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Dolphin


Dolphin by Robert A. Morris, illustrated by Mamoru Funai, is an informative nonfiction book that takes the reader on a journey through the life cycle of a dolphin.  It starts off by introducing the reader to a female dolphin, a cow, that is about to have a baby.  Then you follow along with the baby dolphin, a calf, as he goes through his cycle of life.  You observe what he eats as a young calf as well as when he gets older.  The dolphin shows another aspect of his life by protecting himself after encountering enemies such as sharks and whales.  While traveling along the life cycle with the baby dolphin, the reader is exposed to vocabulary words as well as the characteristics that classify a dolphin as a mammal.  The following excerpt from the book is an example of this, “Dolphins are mammals.  They must breathe air.  The new baby must breathe air soon, or he will drown.”  Dolphin is a great resource for teaching the life cycle to young readers.

Curriculum Connections
Dolphin will help students to gain an understanding of how animals undergo a series of orderly changes.  It specifically investigates the animal’s life cycle (SOL 2.4a).  It also investigates the basic needs and life processes of animals by showing how they change as they grow and their needs to survive (SOL K.7a,c).  Lastly, this book is a great resource to show how animals have certain distinguishing characteristics that allow them to be classified accordingly (SOL 1.5c).

Additional Resources

  • Life cycle worksheet. This worksheet shows the 3 stages of the (simple) life cycle of a shark.
  • A webquest that allows students to investigate, observe and record the life cycle phases of many different animals.
  • An online mini slide show that allows students to view an object and decide if it is living or non-living according to its characteristics.

Book: Dolphin
Author: Robert A. Morris
Mamoru Funai
Publication Date:
Grade Range:

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