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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ANM005
AUTHOR: Sheryl Weinberg,Southeast Island School District; Ketchikan, Alaska Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8, 9


  • Science/Animals
  • Science/Oceanography

OVERVIEW: This lesson affords students an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned about the anatomy of fish with their knowledge of ocean environments and organism’s methods of adapting to survive. The problem can be expanded to include other sea creatures and environments.


  • After creating the ocean descriptors, individually, then as a class, students will brainstorm in fifteen minutes of less, many, different, and unusual adaptive characteristics and behaviors. Ideas are then to be categorized.
  • Students will narrow the specific characteristics of their fish’s environment.
  • Using the generated adaptive characteristics and behaviors as a resource, students will identify adaptations that will impact characteristics of their fish. They will then collect materials needed to make a model.
  • Students will make a model and name it.
  • Fish models will be labeled, presented and displayed in a synthesized environment.
  • OPTIONAL: Following presentations of fish, students might arrange their creations in a food chain or web of the future.

    Student Motivation:

    Show slides of several species of fish. In the way of review have students verbally identify parts of anatomies and adaptive characteristics. Next say: The year is 2025. Since the turn of the century, pollution, over fishing and global warming have dramatically altered characteristics of oceans. Ask students, through discussion, to come up with a composite of 10 characteristics that would describe the Pacific Ocean in 2025. List them on the chalkboard.


    Given the hypothetically evolved condition of the ocean, students will create a fish of the future, listing many, different, and unusual ways that their fish will adapt to survive. The student will name the fish and create a labeled model of it.

    Academic Concepts: Adaptation as a function of preservation. Fish anatomy. The ocean as an ecosystem.


    MANY – Total number of adaptations listed.
    DIFFERENT – Number of categories of fish adaptations listed.
    UNUSUAL – One-of-a-kind ideas listed for fish adaptations.

    May 1994

    These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.