Objective: Students will use their imaginations to create a new species of fish!

Materials: Paper, crayons, markers, paints (optional), list of water fish names

Background: South Dakota is home to more than 100 fish species. Many live in water bodies statewide: smallmouth bass, black bullhead (catfish), creek chub, golden shiner, northern pike and walleye. Some are very area specific: perch (north and mid-east), fladhead catfish (southeast), chinook salmon (upper Missouri River),
brook trout (southwest), and sturgeon (Missouri River only).

Many local artists have created paintings, sculptures, drawings, poetry and stories based on the abundant, beautifu fish that inhabit our state's waters.

Explain to students they are going to do a "play on words" exercise. You're going to give them a fish name and you want them to use their imaginations and create a drawing based on the word they receive. Please note that some of the fish on the list are native to South Dakota, while some are not.

Pass out art materials.

Give each student one of the names of fish listed below. It's okay if more than one student has the same fish name. Each drawing will be unique to that student's imagination.

Encourage the students to have fun with their fish name. Promote creativity and color in their drawings. You may want to suggest that the student include some part of a fish in their design (the fins, the tail, gills, etc.).

Display each drawing around the room or on a bulletin board.

Fish names: Catfish, Dog fish, Bullhead, Bigmouth buffalo, Silver redhorse, Common stoneroller, Fathead minnow, Bowfin, Long ear sunfish.

Have students research their specific fish name and provide some factual information about their fish to the rest of the class. If several students have the same fish name make this extension a small group activity.

Do this same activity using other water organisms (ie., garter snake, dragonfly, bullfrog, ladybug, stonefly, water tiger, etc.). Display drawings in the form of a collage.

Invite a local angler's group to visit your classroom to discuss fishing regulations, safety and procedures with your class. Ask the angler's group to accompany your class to a local fishing spot for a day of fun with the kids!
Grade Level:

Subject Areas:
Visual Arts

SD Standards for 4th grade:
Visual Arts
Standard 1


Analyzing, Interpreting, Presenting

Prior Preparation: Students should take a few minutes to brainstorm what types of fish they have encountered. Have them give a brief description of their favorite "catch" or have them describe a fish from their aquarium.

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