Marine Mammals


    “I love learning about the different habitats of animals. I really like the games at the end of the live session every time, but the forums during the week is where I learned the most. This was a great course and [I] really love all of Emma’s courses.” ~ Student J.W.



    Step 1: Register Your Student

    Step 2: Enroll Your Registered Student

    Otter swimming for Marine Mammals course at Athena's Advanced Academy
    InstructorProf. Emma Stein
    Content LevelsGrades 7-8 • Junior High
    Grades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length16 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnMondays, 10:00 - 10:50 AM Pacific - 1/22/24 - 5/18/24

    How smart are marine mammals? What’s the difference between sea lions and seals? How are marine mammals able to dive so deep? How can you differentiate between different whale species from the surface? How do marine mammals impact their ecosystems and how do humans impact them? These are a few of the fascinating questions that we will answer in this semester-long course!

    In the recently extended version of Marine Mammals, we will explore even more species and facets of marine mammals’ lives to gain a broader understanding of how they function, survive, and thrive! Topics will include…

    • Cognition
    • Deep-sea diving adaptations
    • Senses
    • Sound production & social behavior
    • Hydrodynamics
    • Marine mammal ecology
    • Historical human impacts
    • And more!

    Students working at a higher level will have opportunities to delve even deeper into the material.

    Note to Parents:

    • Although this course will discuss historical hunting of marine mammals (whaling, sea otter hunting, etc.), we will discuss these issues in a positive light (how humanity has generally moved past these actions with few exceptions). Students sensitive to these topics may skip the week on historical human impacts or watch the recording in lieu of attending the live webinar.

    For a list of scientific skills students will develop, see the What to Expect tab.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Two research forums – in which students are given the opportunity to research a marine mammal in the week’s group of marine mammals or a marine mammal related topic.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • A forum focused on encouraging students to peruse scientific articles related to the week’s content.
    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.
    • An activity at the end of the webinar.

    Scientific skills students will develop:

    • Awareness of marine mammal groups, vocabulary, taxonomy, evolution, physiology, and adaptations.
    • Researching using both general Internet sources and scientific articles.
    • General scientific literacy and understanding, including an understanding of current techniques and research.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 7th-grade level or above.
    • Write a few sentences independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Weekly readings will be online, no textbook required.