This lesson about fish is the first of a series of hands-on
life science lessons that utilize the scientific method. Students will
hypothesize, and draw conclusions regarding fish, their anatomy, and how
they function in their environment. In subsequent lessons students will
compare their own anatomy to that of a fish, they will create a drawing
to scale and enlarge it, and will apply their knowledge by creating their
own fish in a realistic environment.
Oceans Alive Part 1 #14: What is a Fish?
(This series is also available in Spanish and is called Oceanos Vivos.)
It Figures Program #16: Using Bar Graphs
The students will:
· Identify the external structures of a fish.
· Demonstrate an understanding of the function of the external
of a fish.
- 1 Goldfish per group of 3 - 4 students
- Clear glass or plastic containers for each goldfish
- Paper bags enough to cover each container of goldfish
- 1-gallon bucket or container to hold goldfish
- Dip net
- Fish Observation worksheet
- Fish Facts worksheet
- Pencil for each student
Survey student knowledge of what students know about fish.
external parts, and how they move. It is suggested that you do this by
a large fish in the front of the room. Solicit the names of the parts of
a fish to include:
Discuss the use of the various parts, for example: "What is the
of fins on a fish?" or " How does a fish use its
Part 2 - Distribute the "Fish Observation" worksheet. On the
section have students draw a fish and label as many parts of the fish
they can. When they their drawing, students should turn their papers
START the video Oceans Alive: What is a Fish? Show the
entire video with sound. (4:30 minutes) Second viewing without sound. Use
the segmented viewing and now sound to focus students' attention on the
fish anatomy. You will use the freeze frame on your remote frequently.
viewing: A two minute segment of the video will be shown. BEGIN
video after the second showing of the title approximately 1 minute into
the video. The beginning image for this segment is an orange colored fish
against a background of coral.
Prior to beginning the video, advise the students that the video will be
shown without sound and that they are to only observe. Check for
of the concept of observation.
Have your remote control available for this activity. FREEZE frame
after approximately 11 seconds, on second view of orange fish. Focus
on the still picture of the fish.
What features do you see?
How is the fish using its fins?
How many fins do you see and where are they located?
Resume tape. "Lets take a closer look" Freeze frame on the
up of fish head.
Questions - Can you see the gills? Direct a student to point out the gill
on the video screen.
Why does a fish have gills?"
PAUSE when the tail or caudal fin is shown. Question - Are all
tails like this one? All time for discussion.
RESUME tape. Discuss the next image making note and pausing where
appropriate to discuss the different location of the dorsal fin and the
shape of the fish. Also make note of the difference of the shape and
of the gill. STOP at the orange fish shown again against the
just before the scuba diver appears - approximate 2 minutes, 10 seconds
into the video.
Part 1 - Ask students to turn their papers back over and add
to their drawings any additional body parts based on what they have seen
in the video. During this time, distribute to each group a fish in a
with a bag over the container.
Part 2 - Advise students that they are to be very careful because the
contains a real fish. They are to observe the real fish. This time they
need to think about how they can make this a successful observation and
keep the fish comfortable. Solicit from students ideas such as
· not moving desks (or tables)
· not moving the container
· not fidgeting
· not putting anything into the water, etc.
Direct one student to remove the bag. Students will be given from 2 to 5
minutes to observe the fish (Time will depend on your class). After the
observation time is completed, students will be asked to cover the fish
with the bag. Students will be asked to draw a second fish on the bottom
section of their "Fish Observation" Worksheet now that they
observed a real fish close up. Next, direct students to label the parts
of the fish based on what they observe and remember.
Part 3 - Students will be asked to uncover the fish and fill in any
that they would like to add to their fish. Allow 3 - 5 minutes for this
CLOSURE & CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING
Have students assist with labeling the large fish that was originally
in the front of the room at the beginning of the lesson. Ask students the
What fins help the fish move?
Are fins paired or single?
How many total fins does the fish have?
How many fish fins are there in total counting all 8 fish that are being
observed in our groups?
What do the different fins do for the fish? (balance, turn, steer, propel
What other body parts can you identify? (mouth, eyes, nostrils, gill
How would you describe the fish covering and color?
Students will be evaluated on their completed drawings and their
in class discussions and group interaction.
View the entire video Oceans Alive/Oceanos Vivos Part 1 - #14 "What
is a Fish?" During the video, direct students to write down the most
interesting fact learned from viewing the video. After viewing the video,
they will share these facts with other class members (reference "Tea
Party" active video viewing method).
Science & Math:
Provide students with pictures of different kinds of fish or have
research and compile pictures of different kinds of fish and classify
to groups: Boney and Cartilage Fish groups. Graph results. Reference ITV
It Figures Program #16 - Using Bar Graphs.
Language Arts & Visual Art:
Instruct students on techniques and structure of writing cinquain poetry.
Brainstorm to create a word bank for vocabulary. Have students write
either individually, in partners, or in groups. Share poetry orally.
poetry on art work with fish illustrations.
Life Sciences: Grades 3 - 6 :Characteristics of living things; structures
of living things;
relationships and classification of living organisms.
Math: Problem Solving, Using Graphs
Salmon & Trout Education Program, California's Salmon and Steelhead
Teachers Guide and Student Activities K6
Master Teachers: Jane Scott Jones and Sharron L. Walker
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online