A short game, which illustrates how dolphins and other whales use sound to hunt under the water. A second level of the game illustrates how this may be impacted by underwater noise pollution.


A clear open space where the group can sit in a circle in the classroom or outside


A blindfold, percussion instruments or other noise producing objects (optional)

Relevance and Aims:

Running the Activity:

Begin the lesson with a brief introduction/recap of senses. What are the 5 senses? Discuss what each sense is used for. Ask the students if one of the senses is needed more. Can you give a reason for this? Why do we have senses? What will happen if a person loses one of their senses? You could mention that some fish such as sharks have a 6th sense, the ability to detect electricity!

Talk about the sense of hearing, get the children to close their eyes and listen to the general noises around them. You might like to take this further with the Sound Maps activity.
Discuss that the underwater environment is different and that it is often a lot harder to see underwater. Marine animals develop their hearing to allow them to locate food and other animals in the marine environment.
There are lots of natural noises in the ocean, (listen to a recording of underwater noise if you have one) can the students pick out some of the sounds (dolphins, waves, etc). Explain that some animals such as dolphins and porpoises are very sensitive to sound. They emit noises and interpret the echo to locate their prey and navigate their way around obstacles. This is called ‘echo location’. Talk about echolocation, and the use of sonar clicks (in power point and background notes).

The Dolphin game part 1:
Blindfold one person (the dolphin) and sit them on a chair in the middle of the class, everyone else sits in a circle around them (you could do this sat on the floor or even standing up). Point at one person (the fish). The ‘dolphin’ makes a noise of their choosing (maybe a click or squeak to mimic a dolphin). The ‘fish’ then repeats this noise. The dolphin is then to point in the direction of the sound. If they are correct, that person is out. If they are wrong, the person who made the sound becomes the dolphin. The person to catch the most fish in a row at the end of the game is the winner.

Dolphin Game part 2:
This is the same game as before however we are adding a background noise the class should realised that it is a lot harder to locate the source of the sound. As a class, think of some loud noises that may occur in the sea.

Make background noise using drums, recordings of underwater noise or noises made by other children in the class to replicate the types of underwater noise they have identified during the discussion.

Do the dolphins find it as easy to locate their prey with background noise? Get the class to count the number of successful and unsuccessful points.

Related Activities



Project Link

Group Size

10 or more


up to 30 mins

Ocean Literacy Links