Something's Fishy: Exploring Fish Life Cycles and Behavior
Teach your students about the life cycles and behavior of fish
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
Children learn about the habits and traits of fish.
- Understand that fish come from eggs, grow, and change.
- Identify characteristics of fish. (e.g., have scales, come from eggs, breathe through their gills)
- Discover how fish move and eat.
- Fish collage/chart from Lesson One
- K-W-L Chart from Lesson One
- Index cards
- 3-4 goldfish
- Live water plant
- Clear plastic container
- Pictures of fish from magazines, index cards, etc.: 12 pictures total; 6 pairs of matching fish
- Colored construction paper in blue, yellow, orange, white, green, red, and black
- Chart paper
Set Up and Prepare
Group your students for rotation through four independent centers. Set up the centers as follows:
- Fish Memory Game: Glue the 12 fish pictures onto index cards.
- Fish Habits: Set goldfish and a live water plant in a small clear-plastic container. Display the fish diagram you make with the students. They will observe the fish, sketch what they're doing, and label their parts.
- Draw and Glue a Fish: Cut half circles of construction paper, at least 10-20 for each student, depending on size. Set out the Fish collage/chart, paper, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, and the construction paper half-circles. Students will draw a fish and then glue the construction paper half-circles for scales. They can use the Fish collage/chart from Lesson One for ideas.
- Fish Read-a-Thon: Provide books about fish, both non-fiction and fiction. Students will read various books about fish.
Step 1: Gather students together to review the fish song from Lesson One. As you sing the song, display the fish collage/chart. Encourage them to call out any names of the fish they might know. Remind them that all animals have body coverings to help them survive. What do fish have covering their bodies? (scales) Tell the children that most animals use their mouth and nose to breathe. What do fish use to breathe? (gills) Ask them if fish come from their mother's bodies or eggs? (eggs)
Step 2: On a large piece of chart paper, make a simple sketch of a fish. Introduce their body parts and model labeling them: eye, mouth, tail, fins, gills, fins. Have children assist you where possible.
Step 3: Show students that they'll be going to different centers to explore fish. Explain the tasks for each of the four centers.
Step 1: Rotate students through the centers in groups — about 10-15 minutes in each.
Step 2: When finished, gather children together to share what they learned. Add to the K-W-L Chart. Use a different color marker when writing student responses to indicate a new entry.
Supporting All Learners
When creating groups, combine high achievers with low or medium achievers.
Have students use crayons to create an underwater scene. Paint over the crayon with blue watercolor paint to show the fish habitat. (The paint won't stick to the crayon.)
Ask students to bring in a book or toy that depicts a fish and share them.
- Complete a fish sketch with labeled body parts.
- Complete a fish drawing with scales.
- Did students work well in their groups?
- Were they engaged and on task the entire time?
- How might you do this lesson differently next time?
Observe how students interact in their groups. Note what they add to the K-W-L Chart.