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Parks Title

Lesson One: The Salmon Story

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the parts of the salmon life cycle
  • Identify hardships and obstacles salmon encounter during the migration cycle

Time Required
One 50 minute session

Materials Required
Medium sized Pony beads; at least 12 colors (more if possible)
Satin or leather cording
Storybook: Salmon Stream (By Carol Reed-Jones; Dawn Publishing, 2001), or The Salmon (By Sabrina Crewe; Steck-Vaugh Company, 1998)

1. Create a salmon life cycle bracelet to use as an example.

2. Ask students if they have heard the term migration. Define the term and provide an example (ducks migrate each year). Do other animals migrate? Introduce the fact that some fish migrate.

3. Read students the book, Salmon Stream or The Salmon. The story follows the life cycle of the Pacific salmon. After the story, have students discuss each stage of the salmon's life. Use the life cycle illustration.

4. Explain that each student is going to create a story about the life of a salmon. Show the students the salmon life cycle bracelet. Explain that the bracelet forms a circle like the life cycle. The bracelet, which is a form of art, can be used to tell, a story about the salmon. Throughout time people of all cultures have used art to tell stories and to teach. Ask if anyone knows a culture that uses storytelling and art to teach. Write down ideas, for example, totems and cave paintings.

5. Show the students the colored beads. Each student will decide the colors they will use to represent each stage of the life cycle. Students can designate colors for obstacles or hazards that their salmon will encounter during its life. Each bead will tell a part of the story about the salmon as it grows, changes, and travels. (Suggestions for bead colors and their significance)

6. Have students choose about eight to twelve beads of different colors. Cut a piece of cording twelve inches or longer per student. Knot one end of the cord and have students create their story bracelet. (It may be helpful to have a parent volunteer or older student help tie the bracelets when the students finish.)

7. Have students share their stories first in small groups of three to five, then to the class. Encourage students to share the story bracelet with their family.

1. Have students write out their salmon life story and illustrate it.
2. Use music or rhythm to add to the story.
3. Create a life cycle puzzle. Provide each student with a copy of a large circle. Have students divide the circle into six equal parts (like slicing a pie). In each section have them write the word for one part of the salmon life cycle (spawning adults, eggs, alevins/fry, fingerlings, smolts, ocean salmon). Have students draw a picture to represent each stage. When drawings are complete, the circle can be cut out and the sections cut apart. Students can then assemble and reassemble this circle as a puzzle.

Answer Key

The Salmon Source: An Educator's Guide. Used with permission from California Department of Fish and Wildlife.