The College of Agriculture Sciences
The Pennsylvania State University
The Department of Agricultural and Extension Education
Course Title: Wildlife and Fishery Science
Unit Title: Wildlife Fauna
Lesson Title (Essential Question): What are migratory fish?
Instructional Time needed for Lesson (minutes/class periods):__76 Mins___________________
Lesson Type (Circle):
PA Academic Standard(s) and Anchors(s) Addressed
S11.B.1 Structure and Function of Organisms
1.6.9.A: Listen critically and respond to others in small and large group situations.
PA Agriculture Standards and Benchmarks Addressed
6.Fish and Wildlife
6.1 Identify fish and wildlife found in Pennsylvania
6.2 Explain and identify fish and wildlife management techniques
Objectives: Upon completion of class instruction, students will be able to:
1. Define Anadromous fish compared to freshwater and saltwater fish to 100% accuracy
2. Explain the spawning process that is common among anadromous fish to 100% accuracy
3. Identify 1 common species of Anadromous fish common to Pennsylvania to 100% accuracy.
Key Agriscience Terms (Essential Vocabulary):
Modalities Addressed:
 Visual
Multiple Intelligences
 Bodily-Kinesthetic
 Auditory
 LogicalMathematical
 Musical
 Kinesthetic
 Naturalist
 Interpersonal
 VisualSpatial
 Intrapersonal
Students are exposed to migratory fish on a common basis. This lesson is designed to make students
more aware of the life cycle and migration patterns of common Pennsylvania fish.
Resources (Community, etc)
Burton, L. DeVere, Fish and Wildlife, Third Edition. Delmar Publishing. Clifton Park, NY. 2010
Realia (Tools, Equipment and Supplies):
White Erase Board
Plain Paper
Pre-Class Set-Up:
Power Point.
Preload Video found on slide 10.
Where did you go on your favorite trip and why? If you have not been on a trip, where would you like to
go? (Potential Answers: Walt Disney World, The Beach, Fishing, Camping, School Trip, National FFA
Convention, State FFA Convention, Trips with the FFA)
Interest Approach (Activating Strategies):
Imaginative Field Trip:
Students close your eyes. We are going to imagine we are fish.
Once everyone has their eyes closed.
You are underwater. You are young. The water is a bit chilly but the sun is shining. Today is the big
day! It is perfect weather to begin your trip to the ocean. While you are excited some of your school
mates are not. The other school mates do not understand why we are leaving our homes and going to
the ocean. “The ocean is big” they cry out, “Salt hurts my beautiful scales!” One girl exclaims. You
begin to feel discouraged, how are we ever going to make it there? Today we will learn about why they
are going, the great trek that migratory fish make to the ocean, and which species will go to the ocean.
Transition/Segue Questions (at least 2-3):
Why are we learning about migratory fish? Shouldn’t they be considered saltwater or
How will the fish survive the dramatic difference in environment?
Which species found in PA are traveling to the ocean?
Summary of Content and Teaching Strategies
Objective 1:
Why are we learning about migratory fish? Shouldn’t they be considered saltwater or
We are talking about Migratory fish. When we talk about migratory fish we are not talking about a fish
that has gone from Sherman’s Creek to the Susquehanna River. We are referring to fish that are
migrating between freshwater and saltwater for part of their lives. These fish are defined as
Diadromous. Diadromous means that part of the life cycle is spent is freshwater and part of the life
cycle is spent in saltwater.
Diadromous is further broken down into 2 categories, anadromous and catadromous. Anadromous
means that the fish migrates up a river from the sea to spawn. Catadromous means that a freshwater
fish that migrates to the ocean for spawning. After spawning it is common for the life cycle to end, also
known as death. But if a fish were able to spawn more than one time the fish would be considered
iteroparous. Iteroparous describes a fish that is capable of spawning more than one time.
Cartographer Moment!
Draw a map of how these fish would migrate. On this map, create a destination, and a route.
Clearly distinguish between the catadromous and anadromous routes and the directions of the
Today we are going to focus on the Anadromous migratory fish. Specifically an Altlantic Salmon. For
your notes instead of bullet points on paper I would like you to fold the paper in half. The first half of the
paper will be labeled as “Freshwater” the second half should be labeled as “migration to saltwater.”
These are the first two areas we will focus on.
Early part of the anadromous fish life is spent in freshwater environment. Spawning is a process. As
discussed previously, spawning is the mating process of fish.
1. Female fish makes a redd (nest) in the gravel
2. Female and male lay side by side as roe are laid and fertilized
3. Female covers the nest with gravel
4. Eggs and fry are protected by the gravel
After hatching the life of an anadromous fish begins to change rapidly.
Fertilized eggs hatch into tiny fish called alevins
– A yolk sac is attached to the underside
– Also referred to as a yolk-sac-fry
When the yolk sac disappears the alevins emerge from the redd. The alevins in this stage also
referred to as fry
As the fry grows it is called a fingerling and may be called so until it is a year old
At about 2 years of age, it is a smolt
At about 2 years of age, our smolt is ready to begin their travels to the ocean.
Think about your own life cycle. The life cycle of a human.At this age compared to fish what do you
imagine happening in your life. This is the age that the anadromous fish is leaving it’s home. Growing
up to become establish but not ready to have a family. That is similar to the fish’s travel to the ocean. In
the ocean the fish will grow and mature but will need to return to the spawning ground where it hatched
to mate again.
How will the fish survive this dramatic change in environment?
Objective 2:
On the second half of your paper, you should record the information about the travels to the ocean.
What are some challenges that a migratory fish might face? Both natural and unnatural?
Predators, Dams, Disease, Sickness, Fishers.
Migration to the ocean!
– Most dangerous time of the life cycle of the anadromous
• May be eaten
• Trouble getting through dams
– Moving through the dams a process known as barging has been put in place
• Smolts are collects above the dam and placed in large river vessels
During this time the fishes body is developing and growing. It is changing to prepare for the dramatic
difference in the salt content of the ocean vs. salt water.
What does the fish do in the saltwater?
Anadromous fish remain in saltwater for 1-6 years. This is where they will gain most of their size and
growth. They remain in the saltwater until they are sexually mature for mating.
How do the fish return home once they are sexually mature?
Fish posses homing signals. On scientific experiment captured 2 groups of fish before a Y in the river.
Once captured, they place cotton balls in the nose of ½ the fish from each group. This disoriented the
fish. This disorientation caused some of the fish to take the wrong turn at the y and end up in the
wrong breeding ground. The powerful homing device is considered to be related to the sense of smell
along the travels of the fish.
You may be asking where stocking fish comes into play in this scheme?
The purpose of stocking serves as supplemental supply to the natural population of fish. Hatcheries
are build along the natural migration routes of migratory fish and the will catch fish that are in the
reproductive stage and “strip” them of their milt or roe for artificial fertization. They then raise the
young until a specific size or age when they are ready to be “stocked” into the local streams and
Objective 3:
What specific anadromous species might we encounter in Pennsylvania?
The most prominent anadromous migratory fish we will encounter is the Atlantic Salmon. Fish has
some distinguishing characteristics.
Lose much of their body tissue during the long trek back up stream
Stop eating and concentrate all of their energy into reproduction
More brightly colored for reproduction (males typically brighter)
Return to the ocean after spawning
– Post spawn salmon remaining in freshwater
Review: Dickens Moment!
Using 5 of the terms we have learned today . Write a story about a specific Atlantic Salmon. Give this
salmon a name, and tell the story of his life for 2 generations. Be prepared to share your story at the
end of the period. Draw at least one picture in your story.
Review today’s objective(s):
Conclusion Statement on Bellwork Class Sheet.
What is anadromous? Why is that distinct and important in the life cycle of migratory fish?
Opportunity to Learn
Students are presented with the opportunity to show what they have learned when they are asked to
use 5 vocabulary words in the story at the end of the period.
Connect cognitively:
- Yesterday- Freshwater Fish
- Today – Anadromous Fish
- Tomorrow- Catadromous Fish/Marine Fish and Fauna
Assessment for this Lesson:
Fish Life Cycle Illustrations with Vocaulary Definitions
Assessment for Unit:
Exam designed to address multiple question techniques.
Extended Classroom Activity:
FFA Activity:
SAE Activity:
Students explore fish
varieties on their own time.
Environment and Natural
Resources. Wildlife CDE
Research SAE on most
effective lures to catch
Largemouth bass in specific
local stream.
Lesson Summary/Pre-Reflection
Which component(s) in your lesson plan are your “flex” item(s), i.e., can be lengthened or shortened
to accommodate time? Explain how the component(s) can be “flexed”.
Flex items include the cartographer moment and the dickens moment. If the time is short we can only
refer to one or two students stories, if we have more time the students will have time to share more
stories and shorten or lengthen the stories.
Describe any adaptations and accommodations for learners with special needs that can be made in
this lesson plan (see Methods chapter 12).
Guided notes can be provided for students. Additional time is also available for the students who
require additional time to complete the Dickens moment at the end of the lesson.
We learn in three modalities. Where in this lesson plan are your specific evidences of accommodating
learners’ modalities?
Visual- Display of the notes through powerpoint presentations and video.
Auditory- The students sharing their stories and reading of the important facts to students.
Kinesthetic- Kinesthetic can be addressed by students distinguishing a freshwater and saltwater area
of the room and distinguishing between anadromous and catadromous by moving from one side or
the other side.
What is the highest level of cognition according to Bloom’s Taxonomy that students reach in this
lesson plan? Describe this occurrence.
Synthesis/Creating- Students create their own map and route as well as create their own stories with
the vocabulary words.

Anadromous Fish Lesson - NAAE Communities of Practice