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
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!
SD Standards for 4th grade:
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.