Zev loves the bubbler in the fish tank. We have talked many times about how it’s dissolving oxygen into the water for the fish to breathe. We elaborated on that by reading a textbook diagram of fish breathing through gills and talking about how that compares to humans breathing. We watched a short video on YouTube about how gills work. Then we observed our minnows swim, specifically watching for them pushing water through their gills. For an art activity, I drew diagrams of fish, pointing out the operculum that covers the gills and named the types of fins. After the kids colored their fish, I cut little slats in front of the mouth and at the operculum line. We pushed little blue pieces of paper in through the fish mouths and out through their gills, pretending that our fish were breathing.
The kids pretended to be fish swimming around and we sang a song (to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon):
Puff the Magic Minnow lived in a tank.
He ate some plants and swam around,
and played with things that sank.
Materials – Paper (I used manilla envelopes, so they’d be a little sturdier and not rip), markers, strips of blue paper, diagram of fish gills or fish anatomy.