“MinnAqua” Minnesota Fish Identification

Robyn Johnson
Clearbrook-Gonvick Public School
16770 Clearwater Lake Road
Clearbrook, MN 56634
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Summary

Students will sort and identify 12-15 of Minnesota's most common fish in our area and share their reasons for each grouping. This will move into a class discussion about body shape, fins, coloring, mouths etc...After discussing this we will examine five fish families and the characteristics of each. Students can reorganize their fish cards into the recommended groups. Using a dichotomous key provided in the MinnAqua materials, we will examine and identify our samples more closely.

Learning Goals

This activity is designed to get the students involved in data analysis, observation, and synthesis of ideas.

Vocabulary:

-Dichotomous key

-Dorsal fin

-Adipose fin

-Whiskers

-Trout/salmon

-Pike

-Perch

-Sunfish

-Catfish

Key concepts are fish identification using observed data, analysis and synthesis of the data with the end result being an accurate identification

Context for Use

This lesson is designed for approximately 20 3rd graders in a regular education classroom. The groups would be of mixed abilities and gender. I estimate the time needed for investigation and exploration to be about 15 to 20 minutes. You will need 5 sets of fish cards. These can be printed from the MinnAqua CD, Chapter 2 Lesson 5, attached to cardstock, and laminated. You will also need 10 to 12 copies of the Dichotomous Key also available on the MinnAqua CD. I anticipate not knowing the answers to all their questions so I plan to have my computer connected to a projector so we can look up some of the background information provided by MinnAqua.
I plan to use this lesson in April to get ready for our class trip to Itasca State Park and fishing trip. I also believe it could be adapted to grades 4-8. Their understanding of the material would be at a much deeper level.

Subject: Biology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)

Description and Teaching Materials

This is a guided inquiry lesson exploring Minnesota fish with the purpose of helping students identify Minnesota fish species and to teach them how to use a dichotomous key.
My students will be divided into groups of 4 students and each group will get a set of fish cards to sort into groups. I want each group to be able to report to the class why they grouped the fish like they did. As each group presents, we will discuss the basic characteristics of the 5 families of fish: Trout/Salmon, Pike, Sunfish, Perch, and Catfish. During this lesson, we will cover body shape, fins, mouths, coloring and a few specialized characteristics like whiskers. Then, using the dichotomous key, walk through a few of the fish cards.
As a closing activity, the students will try to apply the dichotomous key to a fish card we have not yet used.

Teaching Notes and Tips

As a final assessment, I will have the students make a "fish net", as in, 3 dimensional geometric net of a cube. Each side will be labeled with:
1. Name of fish family
2. One important characteristic of the group
3. A drawing or a picture of one of the species in the family.

Assessment

Participation and involvement will be the basic assessment. As a final assessment, I will have the students make a "fish net", as in 3 dimensional geometric net of a cube. Each side will be labeled with:
1. Name of fish family
2. One important characteristic of the group
3. A drawing or a picture of one of the species in the family.
Once these are made, we will use them as a review.

Standards

1. Science grade 3 I.B.1 Students will ask questions about the natural world that can be investigated scientifically. 2. IV.B.1: Student will describe the structures that serve different functions in survival for a Minnesota fish.

References and Resources