5-8 Activities

5-8 Activities

These Fisheries activities were updated in late 2008 and early 2009 along with the Learning Results. Note that the 1997 Learning Results divided grades into 3-4 and 5-8, while the 2007 Learning Results divides them into grades 3-5 and 6-8.

Ideas to try....

The business of fishing has changed dramatically since the 19th century.  What made a good fishery business then, as compared to the present day?  Compare skills needed and the actual tasks and workplace environments.

Possible research topics: specific fish species: fishing boats and their evolution; regulations; and markets.  See our resource list for some references, including primary sources available at the museum. 

Health was relevant in the 19th century story of the fisheries, because of the dietary habits of the public, the hazards of obtaining fish, and the need for good methods of food preservation.  Today, environmental pollution of various types can result in a health hazard when eating certain fish species—learn more from contemporary sources.

Learn about the health benefits of eating certain kinds of fish.

Make graphs or charts for environmental hazards such as mercury and red tide.

Science and Technology
Scientists study fish, other marine life, and bodies of water in order to learn more about these resources. Students could learn more about the ecosystem in Penobscot Bay or the Gulf of Maine, and interactions between various life forms.

Think more about the technology developments that have impacted fisheries over the past 200 years. Pick one, such as refrigeration or engine-powered fishing vessels, and make a diagram showing all the ramifications of this development.

Visit a lobster pound or tank at a market. Make detailed observations of the lobsters. Investigate sources of seafood by interviewing the manager of a supermarket or restaurant.

Civics and Government
The history of the fisheries in Maine contains many examples of regulation and attempted regulation, changes in economic structure, and conflict between fishermen themselves and distributors, owners, and managers, scientists, and politicians. These conflicts can offer material for discussion—take sides and debate as a fisherman vs. a regulator, etc. at certain periods in history.  How do you feel about regulation by the government today? Who should have the final word about fishery regulation?
Investigate the fishing grounds of the world. Learn about how another country manages its marine resources. What have been the influences of the International Law of the Sea Conference and other United Nations organizations?

Economics is a key issue in the operation of the fishing industry. Choose one fishery, such as lobster or cod fishing, and learn more about supply, demand, incentives, and how different people profit or risk differently in obtaining the catch. The ideas of Herrick (see Resources) and his model for the lobster fishery may be of interest.

Create artistic works about marine life and using marine life, such as shells. The museum collection includes some works of art on the subject of fishing, fishermen, and fishing vessels.

Grades 5-8