Activity Overview

In the story, Amos is surprised that Boris, a whale, is considered a mammal. He even asks, “Are you sure you’re a mammal? You smell more like a fish.” A great way to incorporate science into this reading lesson is by having students research the differences between marine mammals and fish. Students will find out what characteristics a marine mammal has and how they are different from the characteristics of a fish.

First, as a whole class, brainstorm a list of everything you know about marine mammals and everything you know about fish. Then, to compile more evidence, students should work in partners or small groups. You could designate a particular topic to each group. For example, one group could focus on marine mammals and how they breathe. Another group could work on fish and how they breathe. After, the two groups could compare their findings.

The example storyboard is specifically about the differences between whales and fish, but you could create a broader category and add all types of marine mammals.



Whales are warm-blooded. They stay warm by layers of insulated blubber. Fish are cold-blooded. Their bodies can naturally adjust to the changes of the temperature.
Whales breathe air like land mammals. They have a blowhole connected to their lungs to allow them to breathe in the air. Fish have gills to breathe. The gills take oxygen from the water so fish can live underwater their whole lives.
Whales give birth to live young. They also produce milk to feed their newborns. Whales nurture their young to make sure they grow up healthy and able to survive on their own. Fish lay eggs. Baby fish are fed nutrients through a sack that they carry around. Typically baby fish are left to fend for themselves.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that compares marine mammals with fish.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Pick a marine mammal and research characteristics of the animal.
  3. Research or brainstorm characteristics of fish.
  4. Lay out your findings in the storyboard, with a column for your marine mammal and a column for fish.
  5. Illustrate each cell with Storyboard That art, or use the photos from Photos for Class!
  6. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 2-3

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Partner, or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/3/8] Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Compare and Contrast
Create a storyboard that compares the similarities and differences between two things.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Comparison Analysis
Text and images include a clear explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics. These comparisons go beyond superficial elements and show strong understanding.
Text and images include an explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics, but the explanation may lack clarity or show only superficial understanding in some squares.
Text and images may include no explanation of similarities and/or differences, or they may make only superficial or inaccurate comparisons.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.

More Storyboard That Activities

Amos and Boris

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