Keywords: coldwater, cool water, warmwater, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, golden rainbow trout, bluegill, black crappie, rock bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch; Lesson Plan Grade Level: third grade and higher; Total Time Required for Lesson: one hour; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • The students will understand the differences between cold, cool, and warm water temperatures for a fish's habitat.
  • The students will be able to identify at least ten Pennsylvania fish.
  • The students will know at least one fact about each of the fish they identify.

State Standards Addressed: E & E: Watersheds and Wetlands (4.1); Threatened and Endangered Species (4.7); Science and Technology: Biological Sciences (3.3)

Subject Covered: science

Topics Covered: identification of some of Pennsylvania's fishes and their habitats

Materials Needed

Teaching Models: Group Activity to introduce the fishes; Small Group Activity to allow for study and review time; Individual Activity to complete the worksheet


  1. In advance, download images from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission of the 10 Pennsylvania fish listed on the information sheet . Use the images to create picture cards and a worksheet. The worksheet contains the 10 Pennsylvania fish pictures with blank lines next to each picture where the students will fill in information about the fish. Discuss the three different habitats for fishes in Pennsylvania waters (cold: less than 70 degrees to grow and reproduce; cool: between 65 and 75 degrees to grow and reproduce; warm: higher than 75 degrees to grow and reproduce).
  2. Show pictures of the 10 fishes chosen to the class (at least one from each kind of habitat) and discuss how to identify the different fishes.
  3. Allow students time to work in small groups and share the different pictures to practice identifying them and going over the information about each fish.
  4. Pass out a worksheet with the 10 Pennsylvania fishes and students label each one and tell what kind of habitat it lives in and one more fact about the fish.


The student should be able to correctly identify 8 of the 10 fishes and give accurate information about the habitat and a fact about each one.


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

Pond and Stream Study Guide (available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission )

Pennsylvania Fishes Identification Guide (available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission )

What's Your Fish IQ? (available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission )


Norma Saylor, third grade teacher, Williamsburg Community School District