K-2 Activities

K-2 Activities

Fishing is a topic that provides many opportunities for comparing present-day practices with the past. For example, how would a young person today become a fisherman or lobsterman? Perhaps there are local fishermen in the area who could provide information to the class. What skills, knowledge, and abilities would help someone become a good fisherman? How has technology changed the skill requirements? What do fishermen do to conserve marine resources?

In addition to writing opportunities of all types, learning about fisheries provides topics for easy research for younger students. Even a trip to a market with a fresh fish counter can be a research opportunity: what kinds of fish and shellfish are available? Where did they come from? Compare to canned or frozen fish and shellfish products. Calculate price comparisons: which costs more, canned or fresh salmon? Visit a lobster pound or seafood restaurant. Make observations about the lobsters in the tanks.

Other math opportunities include: ordering fish by length and weight; working with numbers of lobster traps and lobstermen; collecting data on fish found in the grocery store; measuring with gauges used by lobstermen; classifying fish by where they live, what they eat; fresh vs. salt water, etc.

These concepts lead to science activities as well: students can draw pictures of the life cycle of the lobster or other fish, describe characteristics of marine animals, and learn about the food chain. Locally, there may be opportunities to visit the shoreline and look for shells and evidence of marine animals and plants. Learn more about efforts to conserve fish and other marine resources in Maine.

The history of trying to keep fish fresh and lobster alive for markets led to use of specific kinds of boats (smacks) and later to the use of ice and then refrigeration. What other methods have been used to preserve fish? What were the hazards of canning? How do people can products today in their homes? What precautions have to be observed?

Compare similar shellfish: clams, oysters, and mussels. What similarities and differences are there? Are students willing to taste samples?

Industrial development and overfishing have affected fish and shellfish populations. Industrial effluent from lumber mills and paper mills, along with untreated sewage, has negatively impacted fish and shellfish populations along Maine’s coast. The construction of dams across rivers has kept salmon and other anadromous fish from spawning. What has been done to clean up Maine’s waters and improve fish habitats?

Lobstermen had certain assumptions about the habits and life cycle of the lobster, based on their observations. What do we know about lobster migration? About egg-bearing females? How does recent scientific investigation differ from traditional folk belief? Are there any traditional Native American legends or stories about fish or shellfish?

Students, themselves, may go fishing, or know friends or relatives who fish. They might share, orally or in writing, stories about first-hand experiences. These stories may lend themselves to map-making, research into kinds of sport fish, etc.

Cooking activities are always fun. Find some menus from seafood restaurants. Read recipes.

Grades K-2