Animal Behavior: "Groggy Goldfish"

Pearlie M. Hayes Henry Clay Elementary
13231 S. Burley
Chicago IL 60633


To observe the behavior of goldfish in water of varying temperatures.


Goldfish (4) Thermometers (4)
Fish Tank Ice (large bag)
Plastic Containers (4) Timer or Wall Clock


1. Begin the lesson with a review of the definition of hibernation and cold and
warm-blooded animals.
2. In groups of 4's, give each group one goldfish in a plastic container with
room temperature water from fish tank, one thermometer, crushed ice and a chart.
3. Give each person in the group a job. (a timer, a counter, a reader, or a
4. Begin the investigation by taking the temperature reading and water operculum
count of the control goldfish (20 seconds). Put findings on blackboard.
5. In group, take reading of the water temperature and a 20 second operculum
count. Record on chart. (Remember to multiply by 3 to equal a minute).
6. Add a small amount of ice, wait 3 minutes, and take temperature of water and
a 20 second operculum count. Observe and record.
7. Add another small amount of ice (use the same amount as used in step 6
above), wait 3 minutes and record the temperature. Take a 20 second operculum
count and record on chart. Observe.
8. Continue adding ice in small amounts, recording temperature every 3 minutes
until operculum is 0. Observe.
9. When operculum count hits zero, place goldfish in a warmer place and observe
reaction. Remove any remaining ice and add some room temperature water.

Performance Assessment:

Students should be able to take accurate readings of the temperature of water.
After a discussion of hibernation, students will predict what will happen to the
operculum counts when the temperature of water is lowered. Throughout the
investigation students will communicate, observe, measure, interpret, and record
data correctly. Students will also write a brief description of what was
observed during the investigation.

Multicultural Aspect:

Many kinds of fish live all over the world. They live in all climates on land
and at all levels of the ocean. These fish develop bodies and ways of life that
suit their particular region. People of all cultures use, observe, and enjoy
many kinds of fish.
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