Vertebrates Lesson 1: Fish 

The first class of vertebrates, fish lessons in our Montessori classroom is as follows…….

Generally lessons on each class of vertebrates are given for 1 to 2 weeks. Each day few points are added to the lesson and the last session will be a review with the animal visit to the environment.

At first the general characteristics of the fish is explained with the help of the pictures in our fish folder that I have prepared from the various google images.

Our fish folder and the pictures :

I have written the names of the fish and few details at the back of the cards.

The following facts are told about the fish to the children, each day few facts

  1. Shape of the fish : we ask the children to look at the shape of the fish head and we say we call it as “streamlined shape”. This body shape helps the fish to go through the water smoothly and easily. So when the people dive into the water, they keep the hands up like this to resemble a fish head which helps them to dive smoothly and easily.
  2. Gills: Fish live in water and how do you think they get the air to breathe like us. Fish take a gulp of water into its mouth and gushes it out through it’s gills wherein the oxygen from the water is removed and used. We show them the picture of gills. ( picture next to the fish folder in the picture)
  3. Scales: The body of the fish is covered with thin, flat and hard plates called scales which protects the body. We show them the cleaned and washed fish scales.
  4. Lateral line: This is a line along the side of the fish which senses movement in the water and sound vibrations.
  5. Fins: There are two unpaired fins called dorsal fin (found on top of the fish, helps in staying upright and taking turns) and the caudal fin ( it’s the tail that helps the fish to propel forward in water) . And there are three paired fins called pectoral fins ( located just behind the head, helps in steering), pelvic fins ( found along the underside of the fish, assists the fish in going up or down, to slow down or stop) and the anal fins ( found underside behind the pelvic fins, helps the fish stay stable during swimming)
  6. Cold blooded: Fish are cold blooded. Cold blooded means if the water is cold, the fish body gets cold inside and out.  if the water is warm, the fish body gets warm inside and out. The fish cannot keep the temperature inside their body from changing. We call it as cold blooded. People like you and me are warm blooded. The inside temperature of our bodies stay the same even if it is very cold outside.
  7. Eggs: Fish lays eggs in the water which are very soft and jelly like. And the little fish come out the eggs when they hatch.
  8. Eyes and nostrils: The eyes of the fish are on the either side of the head and have no eyelids like us. Fish can see colours. Fish uses it’s nostrils to smell to recognise one another, recognise places, recognise food.
  9. Swim bladder: We explain swim bladder to the elementary kids with the help of the Cartesian diver experiment. Like the tube in the Cartesian diver experiment The amount of the air in the swim bladder helps the fish to rise up and down.

The Cartesian diver experiment

The parts of the fish are explained again with the fish puzzle.


I used the three part nomenclature cards that I bought from the site Waseca Biomes for the elementary children weekend classes. These cards are part of the bundle ” introduction to the biomes with curriculum “. It’s worth a buy. The cards and all the materials available in the site are beautiful and the children love it. Following is the picture of the three part cards and the control chart that I printed out from google images


And the lessons to the children are always with the songs and rhymes. I generally give any song or rhyme in English, Tamil or Hindi related to the concept. I choose my English rhymes for the concept mostly from the site Preschool Express by Jean Warren.

And also the lessons are with art and craft fun. The following picture shows various craft options for fish lessons that we have tried..


Finally review of the fish lesson with the friendly animal visit by our golden fish.


And that’s all about the fish lessons. I will post a separate lesson on Cartesian diver later.

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