I FISH NY Lesson Plans - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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I FISH NY Lesson Plans

The I FISH NY program was developed by the NYSDEC with the primary goal of increasing fishing participation in New York State. The goal is accomplished by increasing public awareness of the outstanding fishing opportunities available in New York; providing information on the fishing techniques/skills necessary to make best use of these opportunities; increasing knowledge of the fish and aquatic resources of New York State; and improving fishing opportunities in suburban and urban areas of New York State where the bulk of the State's population resides.

I FISH NY welcomes teachers and educators to an online resource for lessons on fishing, fish and aquatic science. Here, you will find links to several lessons intended for formal (in class) or informal (out of class) classroom settings. The lessons on this site are intended for grades 3-12. Lessons and activities include a lesson plan, background information, accompanying handouts, and supplemental activities that can be used for assessment. All lessons are aligned with the New York State Common Core Standards.

Lesson Plans Grades 3 - 5
Lesson Plans Goals and Objectives
Food Web Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 1.1 MB)
  • Students learn the concept of food webs and the roles organisms play as consumers, producers, and decomposers
  • Students will be introduced to organisms in an aquatic ecosystem
  • Students learn how humans play a roll in the aquatic food web as anglers and consumers
Freshwater Classification Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 1.2 MB)
  • Students will observe freshwater macroinvertebrates and learn about the classification system
  • Students learn to compare and contrast invertebrates and vertebrates
Form and Function Grades 3-5 Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 1 MB)
  • Students learn about freshwater or saltwater fish species in New York State
  • Students learn about how fish adapt or change to better survive their environment
  • Students learn how a fish's anatomy tells us about the species, where it lives, how it finds food and how it protects itself
Go Fish! Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 772 KB)
  • Introduces students to fish families indigenous to New York State
  • Students learn about the classification system and external anatomy features of fish
Lesson Plans Grades 6 - 8
Lesson Plans Goals and Objectives
Fish Dissection Lesson Plan (PDF, 2.7 MB)
  • Students get hands-on experience in understanding the internal organs and system functions of a local fish species
  • Students will understand the external body parts of fish
  • Students discuss both internal and external features in relation to the human anatomy
Food Web and Bioaccumulation Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 319 KB)
  • Students are introduced to some of the animals that live in an aquatic environment
  • Students learn the dynamics of food chains and food webs and the role organisms play as consumers, producers, and decomposers
  • Students learn how aquatic organisms and humans play a role in the aquatic food web
Form and Function Grades 6-8 Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 3.3 MB)
  • Students are introduced to freshwater or saltwater fish species in New York State
  • Students learn a variety of fish body parts and their function
  • Students are introduced to a few freshwater or saltwater fish species in NYS
  • Students learn how fish adapt or change over time to better survive their environment
Lesson Plan Grades 9 - 12
Lesson Plan Goals and Objectives
Invasive Investigators Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF,1.42 MB)
  • Students will learn about several of New York States aquatic invasive species and how humans play a role in their introduction
Out of Class Lesson Plans
Lesson Plans Goals and Objectives
5 Senses and Fish ID Lesson Plan (PDF, 133 KB)
  • Students learn that fish have 5 senses utilized to assist in acquiring food, to defend against predators, and in some cases for schooling with others of their own species
  • Students will be introduced to some of the animals that live in an aquatic environment
Casting Backyard Bass Lesson Plan (PDF, 215 KB)
  • Students learn that fishing can be an exciting activity that can be shared with family, friends, or alone.
  • Students learn it is important to know about the type of fish, the fishing pole, and the reel you are using
  • Student learn that where you fish, what type of water you fish in, and what fish species you are targeting will dictate how you fish and with which equipment
  • In this lesson, students will play a game in order to learn how to properly cast a fishing rod
  • Students will be shown different rod types and fishing tackle.
Fish ID and Lure Art Lesson Plan (PDF, 556 KB)
  • Students will learn to identify 3-5 local freshwater/saltwater species while learning about the types of artificial fishing lures they can use to catch these species
Fish Identification Memory Game Lesson Plan (PDF, 562 KB)
  • Students will be introduced to the New York State Fishing Regulations (Freshwater or Saltwater depending on the site of study)
  • Students learn how these regulations are enforced, and why we have these regulations in place
  • Students will play a memory card game to become familiar with local fish species and the regulations on these species
Freshwater Fisheries Management Lesson Plan (PDF, 88 KB)
  • This lesson focuses on conservation and management efforts for freshwater fisheries.
  • Students will learn: the role of the NYSDEC in freshwater fisheries management, several net types used for fisheries surveys, and 1-2 local freshwater fish species.
Knot Tying Lesson Plan (PDF, 793 KB)
  • Students will learn how to tie a clinch knot and bait a hook. Depending on the level of the students, additional fishing knots may be introduced.
Predator Prey Lesson Plan (PDF, 82 KB)
  • Students will learn an example of each predator and prey species that they can catch in a local water body
  • Students will be introduced to aquatic predator-prey relationships by playing a tag game
  • Predator and prey defensive traits will also be introduced (camouflage, schooling, external anatomy).
Regulations Scavenger Hunt Lesson Plan complete with handouts (PDF, 520 KB)
  • Students learn that it is important to be able to identify fish in order to determine if they are a regulated species. Knowing fishing regulations and some simple information about fish will help promote the health and abundance of fish stocks

  • Important Links
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  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 631-444-0283.
  • Contact for this Page
  • I FISH NY Program
    NYSDEC R1-Stony Brook
    50 Circle Road
    Stony Brook, NY 11790
    631-444-0283
    Send us an email
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions