Facts and Fishes: Focus Area 4

Myth Busting - Social Schooling

The focus of these lessons is to investigate the ways in which fishes can be considered social animals. Students will read about how fishes cooperate and have cultural traditions. This Focus Area includes a range of different tasks including, reading and synthesising information, debate, a creative research activity, and vlogging. As an extension task, students can listen to experts discuss the capabilities of fishes in our Talking APEs podcast series.  

Time and Structure

  • This Focus Area could take anywhere between 1-2 lessons or longer. 
  • The lesson has been designed to be flexible, so that teachers may choose to alter or omit tasks to suit the needs of their students. 

 

Target

Mixed ability class with extension tasks. 

 

Unit Focus

  • Question  whether our treatment of fishes reflects what we know about them. 
  • Consider  the different views on this issue and decide for yourself where you stand. 
  • Discuss  with your friends, family, classmates and teachers. Debating complex issues is healthy and helpful. 

 

Resources 

 

Other Resources

 

Inquiry Questions

  • What are the social and cultural aspects of fish communities? 
  • How can we better protect fishes? 

 

Suggested Learning Activities 


1. Starter

What does it mean to be social?

Give students 5 minutes to write down as many words or phrases they can think of which relate to the question above. 

 

 
Some general words/phrases which should come up are: 

  • Communication; 
  • Choosing friends/partners; 
  • Being part of a family; 
  • Being compassionate;  
  • Cooperating or working with others; 
  • Hierarchy or status;   
  • Culture or tradition. 

 

Now ask the students to go through their list and draw a fish icon next to the points which they think may apply to communities of fishes. 


2. Explore

Read Pages 9-10 from The Watery World of Fishes, either as a whole class exercise or in small groups.  

From the information provided, ask the students to complete the Filter and Distil Worksheet.  

The aim of this task is for students to be able to read, process, and evaluate the most important facts from a resource.  

 
3. Discuss

Facilitate a class discussion, or in small groups, using the following higher order thinking questions.  

Factual We may look totally different to animals under the sea, but in what ways are we similar?
Conceptual  How can we define ‘culture’ in the aquatic world?
Debatable Ensuring biodiversity within our oceans should be a priority for governments (extension question with links to sustainability).


  • Refer to the Australian Museum’s resource on biodiversity.  
  • These questions are a good way to differentiate within your classroom. 
     

4. Share

Missing Fish 

Students to create a ‘Missing Fish’ poster to raise awareness about a species of fish that is now extinct. Refer to the Missing Fish Template for this task.  

See below as an example: 

Must include: 
Name of species…Tecopa pupfish 
Unique name… Robert 
Image / drawing… 
Reason/s for extinction… 
Last seen… 



Direct your students to ‘10 Fish That Have Recently Become Extinct’ at www.thoughtco.com, for an interesting resource regarding extinct fish. 
 

5. Reflect

VLOG – Video Blog

Ask students to record themselves on a digital device (iPad, laptop or other) speaking for 2 minutes about what they have learnt during this unit of work.  

Refer students to the Unit Focus Questions listed below: 

Question whether our treatment of fishes reflects what we know about them.  
Consider the different views on this issue and decide for yourself where you stand.  
Discuss with your friends, family, classmates and teachers. Debating complex issues is healthy and helpful.  

Or, the Inquiry Questions: 

  • What are the social and cultural aspects of fish communities? 
  • How can we better protect fishes? 

  • Vlogging works well for many students who find it difficult to speak in front of their peers - it is a safe way to share ideas and opinions with their teacher. 
  • If students do not have access to computers, this task can also be done in a written format, or even on a post-it note as they exit the classroom. 

 

If parents and students consent, teachers are welcome to share vlogs from their class with Voiceless! Please email student work to [email protected]

 

6. Extend

Play the podcast Facts and Fishes Part 1 (approximately 20 minutes). 

Students listen to experts; Dr Jonathan Balcombe and Prof. Culum Brown, as they discuss the capabilities of fishes.  

Use the Podcast Listening Comprehension Worksheet which accompanies this Focus Area.   

 

 You may need to play the podcast twice so students have time to both listen and respond.   



7. Taking it Further

If you and your students enjoyed these activities, then please continue to work though the subsequent focus areas within the unit. Up next, Industry Matters and our Facts and Fishes Podcast Part 2