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Marine WATERs - Western Australia - Teacher Education Resources Government of Western Australia

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Fish or not?

Posted on: October 8, 2012

Last week we promoted Marine WATERs to the rest of the country at the biennial Australian Association for Environmental Education Conference. In a workshop entitled ‘Marine WATERs: Dive into the underwater world without leaving the classroom’ educators were asked to think of types of fish – i.e. those organisms technically classified as fish – and then separate them from those things that are colloquially termed ‘fish’ that may not be fish at all … as is the case with silverfish, an answer from one quick educator!

You could conduct a similar activity with your students.  Brainstorm as a class what characteristics make a fish, a fish! You could use the Teacher Background Information in the Marine WATERs Lesson Plan: What’s a Fish to assist in your discussion. Then brainstorm with your students, organisms that are colloquially termed ‘fish’. These may include organisms both in and out of the marine environment (as I discovered last week!). Finally, ask students to research each of the organisms to discover why they are not technically classified as fish – what characteristics of fish are they missing?

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