Activities and Lesson Plans

What Killed Freddy the Fish? Cover-Freddie the Fish


4.4 B, C, D: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. The student multiplies and divides to solve meaningful problems involving whole numbers. The student is expected to: (B) represent multiplication and division situations in picture, word, and number form; (C) recall and apply multiplication facts through 12 x 12; and (D) use multiplication to solve problems (no more than two digits times two digits without technology).

4.5 A, B: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. The student estimates to determine reasonable results. The student is expected to: (A) round whole numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand to approximate reasonable results in problem situations; and (B) use strategies including rounding and compatible numbers to estimate solutions to multiplication and division problems.

4.6 B: Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking. The student uses patterns in multiplication and division. The student is expected to: (B) use patterns to multiply by 10 and 100.

4.16 A: Underlying processes and mathematical tools. The student uses logical reasoning. The student is expected to: (A) make generalizations from patterns or sets of examples and nonexamples.

Language Arts

4.2 B: Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it when reading and writing; (B) use the context of the sentence (e.g., in-sentence example or definition) to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words or multiple meaning words.

4.23 A, B: Research/Research Plan. Students ask open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them; (A) generate research topics from personal interests or by brainstorming with others, narrow to one topic, and formulate open-ended questions about the major research topic; and (B) generate a research plan for gathering relevant information (e.g., surveys, interviews, encyclopedias) about the major research question.

4.19: Writing/Persuasive Texts. Students write persuasive texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students are expected to write persuasive essays for appropriate audiences that establish a position and use supporting details.

4.24: Research/Gathering Sources. Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to: (B) use skimming and scanning techniques to identify data by looking at text features (e.g., bold print, italics); (C) take simple notes and sort evidence into provided categories or an organizer; (E) differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism and identify the importance of citing valid and reliable sources.


2 A,B,C,D,E,F: Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to: (A) plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking well-defined questions, making inferences, and selecting and using appropriate equipment or technology to answer his/her questions; (B) collect and record data by observing and measuring, using the metric system, and using descriptive words and numerals such as labeled drawings, writing, and concept maps; (C) construct simple tables, charts, bar graphs, and maps using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate data; (D) analyze data and interpret patterns to construct reasonable explanations from data that can be observed and measured; (E) perform repeated investigations to increase the reliability of results; and (F) communicate valid, oral, and written results supported by data.

3 A, C, D: Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to: (A) in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student; (C) represent the natural world using models such as rivers, stream tables, or fossils and identify their limitations, including accuracy and size; and (D) connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of science, science careers, and contributions of scientists.

9 A, B: Organisms and environments. The student knows and understands that living organisms within an ecosystem interact with one another and with their environment. The student is expected to: (A) investigate that most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food, while consumers are dependent on other organisms for food; and (B) describe the flow of energy through food webs, beginning with the Sun, and predict how changes in the ecosystem affect the food web such as a fire in a forest.

Social Studies


21 B, C: Science, technology, and society. The student understands the impact of science and technology on life in Texas. The student is expected to: (B) describe how scientific discoveries and technological innovations have benefited individuals, businesses, and society in Texas; and (C) predict how future scientific discoveries and technological innovations might affect life in Texas.

23 B, D, E: Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication; (D) create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies; and (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.

24 A, B: Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings. The student is expected to: (A) use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and (B) use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some of the dangers fish face?
  2. Do fish just sometimes die of natural causes? How can you tell how old a fish is?
  3. What are the two types of water pollution? How are they the same? How are they different?
  4. What is runoff and what does it have to do with nonpoint source pollution? Can you name some types of nonpoint source pollution?
  5. How does source pollution get into the water? Can you name some types of source pollution?
  6. What creates all pollution? What are some things you can do to help create less pollution?
  7. Which real-life nature detective did you like reading about the most? Why?
  8. CHALLENGE QUESTION: Do you think that water pollution can be reversed? In other words, after water gets polluted, do you think it can be made unpolluted? Tell why or why not. Explain your answer.

Count the Kill

Teachers! This one's for you! Using a pizza box and beans, this engaging activity helps students perfect their estimating skills. Given the hypothetical situation of a fish kill in which there are too many fish to count and too little time in which to count them, this activity simulates how real-world biologists might estimate the number of fish killed. Also, check out the extensions offered, including one that has the kids figuring out how much to charge polluters for damages.

Become an Aquatic Crusader!

Help Darby Duck by learning all about nonpoint source pollution. Once you’ve done all seven experiments you’ll know all about what lives in the water near your house, why it’s important to keep those critters safe, and what might be threatening them!

What's Wrong with This Picture?

Many people do things that harm the water and the environment because they don’t know better. But now you can spot nonpoint source pollution when you see it! What’s wrong with this picture?

What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

Little critters sometimes tell us big news. That’s what’s going on here:

Learn about indicator species and then pretend that you’re an indicator species. Write a letter to persuade someone to treat the water you live in better. Persuade people to be kind to your home. Be very persuasive...after all...your life depends on it!


Nature CSI!

Explore the fascinating U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory website at:

As you do, take notes like a big kid. What does that mean? Well, that means that you organize what you learn using your own words. Don't just copy down the words exactly as they are on the website. Anyone could do that!

BP Oil Spill - What’s Your Opinion?

You heard all about the BP Oil Spill. After all, the way news played it constantly last spring and summer, how could you not? But you don’t really know what it was all about, do you? Don't worry – most kids don't, but now's your chance to learn. This great kid-friendly site explains it all:

After you read, write your opinion of what happened. Be sure to include facts to back up your opinion!