Students will be able to:
- find the mass of objects using a classroom balance;
- rank order by mass at least three Canadian record fish; and
- compare the mass of Canada's record fish using graph paper.
Students will "recreate" some of Canada's record fish using "found materials" or common classroom objects.
For the class: several classroom objects for mass such as textbooks, scissors or glue bottles and/or several common found items for mass such as rocks, gravel, small logs; light materials to fill out each fish, such as shredded paper or popcorn
For each group: balance or scales; graph paper; 1 fish "skin" appropriate in length to each fish. Skins can be made from old nylons, heavy plastic bags, burlap, ski bags, etc.
Young people are often fascinated by large fish and here they will have a chance to experience and compare the mass of record-setting fishes.
Each school should have arm balances, pan balances or triple-beam balances. If your school does not, you might try to borrow them from a nearby secondary school. Bathroom scales work well as an alternative.
NOTE: If your class is not familiar with scales, weights, measurements, recording or graphing, you may need to sub-divide this activity into smaller units.
- Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
- Have each group design a worksheet to record the mass of their objects and fishes.
- Have groups select one to three species of fishes from the Student Resource Sheet and record the mass, length and girth of each chosen fish species on their worksheets.
- Have groups select and find the mass of objects (classroom or found items) they predict will be equivalent to the mass of the fish species. Have them measure and record the mass of the objects on their worksheets, and compare the total to the mass of their fish. How accurate were their predictions? Have students add or subtract items until the total mass equals the record for that fish.
- Have each group fill their fish skins with both their mass items and light filler. Make sure they distribute the mass evenly. Have them tie off their skin at the appropriate length with string or large twist ties, and label their "fishes".
- Have each group lift their own fishes, and trade with other groups. As a class, order the fishes by relative mass based on how heavy they feel, and compare their order with the record list.
- Review skills for making a bar graph or picto-graph. Have students show three species of fishes and the objects that they predicted to be equivalent to the mass of the fishes.
- Have the students predict what would happen to the mass of the record muskellunge if it suddenly ate the record pike who had just eaten the record smallmouth bass.
- Have students use a map of Canada to find the locations where record fishes were caught.
- Have students make a time line and plot the order of dates in which the record fishes were caught. Ask them what the oldest standing record weight is and what the most recent record is.
- Have students write from the point of view of a record fish and describe some events it had to survive in order to become so big.
Have students rank order by mass any three fish that were created by the class.
© Canadian Wildlife Federation
All rights reserved. Web site content may be electronically copied or printed for classroom, personal and non-commercial use. All other users must receive written permission.