Keywords: pelvic fin, caudal fin, anal fin, dorsal fin, lateral line, gill cover, pectoral fin, adipose fin; Lesson Plan Grade Level: third grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: 45 minutes as one continuous time block; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • The student will identify parts of a fish.
  • The student will learn the purpose of some of the parts of a fish.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: E & E: Describe the Basic Needs of an Organism (4.6); Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening: Speaking and Listening (1.6)

Teaching Model: Group Activity/Individual Work

Subjects Covered: science

Topics: parts of a fish and the purpose of some parts


  1. After discussing different habitats, life cycles, and parts of animals, eggs, and fish, this group activity involves all students and all levels of ability.
  2. In advance, the teacher will have prepared a large picture of a fish and have the cards printed and laminated.
  3. Hang the picture on the blackboard and have the students come and sit on the floor.
  4. Ask for one student to pick a part and identify it. Next, have the student come to the picture and point to the part. Now have the student find the card with the correct word name and attach it to the large picture. (If the other students agree they smile, if they disagree, they frown. This helps to keep noise to a minimum.) Note: If the student is incorrect, guide them to the correct answer.
  5. Ask another student to come forward and pick the card that tells how that part helps the fish.
  6. Continue until all the parts and purposes have been identified. As the students return to their seats, the teacher will remove the names and purposes from the fish.
  7. Pass out the worksheet and have them put their name and date on the top.
  8. Allow the students time (about 10 minutes) to complete the worksheet and then check it with the group as the teacher puts the part names back on the large picture.
  9. Have the students take the worksheet home.


Students will correctly identify the fish parts and purposes on the worksheet.


Virginia Tech Virtual Farm

Pennsylvania Fishes by Linda Steiner (available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission )



Norma Saylor, third grade teacher, Williamsburg Community School District