Lesson Plan

Freeing the Elwha (Getting to Know Salmonids in the Elwha River)

An adult coho salmon with a smolt salmon above.

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Aquatic Studies, Biology: Animals, Hydrology, Marine Biology
Duration:
Three Block Class Periods
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Washington State Standards:
Science
EALR 4 6-8 LS3A,  LS3E,  LS2D,  LS2E
Reading
EALR 1 Comp. 1.1, Comp. 1.5, Comp 1.6, EALR 2 Comp 2.1, Comp. 2.2, Comp. 2.3, EALR 3 Comp 3.1, Comp 3.2
Social Studies
EALR 5 Comp. 5.2

Overview

Salmonids are a crucial part of the Elwha River ecosystem. How can our understanding of their life cycles help restore the Elwha River ecosystem?

Background

Students will be introduced to the wild salmonid species of the Elwha River. After watching a power point presentation on the anadromous life styles of pacific salmonids, students will work in groups to research. Then students will compose a presentation on the lifestyle of a specific species of anadromous fish found in the Elwha River: Chinook, chum, coho, pink, sockeye, steelhead, bull trout, or Dolly Varden. Student groups will then apply their knowledge by constructing a model healthy river habitat in which their species, along with other species of salmon, can grow and thrive.

  • Alevin (al-uh-vuhn)A newly hatched fish in the larval stage, which remain in the redd area and feed off their yolk sac.
  • Anadromous- ([uh-nad-ruh-muh s)A fish that is born in freshwater, migrates to the ocean to spend its adult life, and returns to freshwater to spawn.
  • Fry- A juvenile fish that has absorbed its yolk sac and begins to hunt or feed on its own.
  • Oncorhynchus (on-kor-IN-cus) – Latin name for the genus that includes salmonids
  • Redd- A depression in sand or gravel where salmon deposit their eggs and then partially bury them.
  • Salmonids (sal-MON-ids) – salmon and the other species related to them, such as trout and whitefish.
  • Smolt- A juvenile fish (for salmon, the stage where they enter salt water).
  • Spawn - The process by which an organism produces others of its kind.

Materials

  • Lesson 9- Salmon Anadromous Lifestyles.pptx
  • Reflection Journal pages (Printable handout)
  • Vocabulary notes (Printable handout)
  • Student pages (Printablehandout)
  • Research materials/ Internet access
  • Power point software / poster boards/ art supplies

Procedure

Assessment

Reflection journal pages. See rubric.
Research project based on the student page guidelines. See rubric.
Assess River habitat project using rubric provided.

Additional Resources

For struggling learners;

Salmon coloring book visually and simply explains salmon life cycles.
http://www.fws.gov/pacific/publications/salmnbk.pdf

The Lesson plan in the link below contains a "Something Fishy: Life Cycle of a Salmon Game"
http://www.eduref.org/cgi-bin/printlessons.cgi/Virtual/Lessons/Science/Animals/ANM0204.html

Enrichment:

Explore the shellfish associated with the Elwha River:
http://www.nwifc.org/2008/10/collaborative-efforts-for-elwha-river-freshwater-mussel-rescue/
http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/fishing/freshwater-tips/salmon/salmon-spawn.htm

Just for fun:

Salmon dissection game http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00548/Dissection.html

Coloring. Mazes, dot-to-dot fin stuff:
http://www.critfc.org/for-kids-home/for-kids/
Many salmon games:
http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00548/GoodStream.html

 

Vocabulary

Alevin (al-uh-vuh n)
Anadromous- ([uh-nad-ruh-muh s)
Fry
Oncorhynchus
Redd
salmonids
Smolt
Spawn