Animals, including humans , Living things and their habitats
Spark a conversation with this video showing fish and dolphins. This activity is great for describing observations and applying ideas in unfamiliar contexts.
Run the activity
1. You’re going to watch a short video. The aim isn't to find right answers, it's to explore ideas and find out what they know.
- Do they know what might happen based on the image?
2. After you've watched the video, lead a discussion with your class:
- What different fish did they see?
- How do these animals move through the water?
- Why are they coloured or patterned differently?
- Why do some fish live in shoals and others live alone?
3. Ask the class to describe what they saw using only one word.
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This clip shows a range of fish in a range of habitats, from tropical seawater to cold freshwater in Alaska. For the list of fish please see scroll to the credits at the end of the page, but note that while sharks and eels are fish, dolphins are mammals and are not fish.
Pink jellyfish are found in warm Mediterranean seas and are approximately the size of a small plate. They swim by contracting and relaxing the muscles around the bell, propelling themselves forward. Fish use their caudal fin (tail fin) to propel themselves through the water. Other fins are used for balance or to change direction. Water is drawn in through the mouth and passed over gills to extract oxygen.
Dolphins and salmon can leap out of the water. Dolphins may use porpoising (swimming fast and close to the water surface or jumping through and above it) to aid navigation, to keep together in their pod, locate fish shoals or communicate.Salmon move from sea to freshwater rivers to spawn and must adapt to changes in salinity. They leap to overcome obstacles as they swim upstream to their spawning grounds.
Brightly coloured tropical fish blend in well with the colours of the coral reef whereas eels and rays may be patterned to disguise themselves against the stony floor, both to escape predators or to aid ambush of prey that they may be hunting. Eels are very flexible and can swim through narrow channels in the reef. Corals are colonies of animals too, that feed on microscopic plankton.
Take it further
Follow up on this activity by encouraging children to group and sort the different animals featured in this video, and explain their reasons for the groups they choose. Can they suggest the food chains that they are part of, too?
Explore more about why a dolphin is a mammal with this Odd One Out Say cheese or take a closer look at a fish with this Zoom in Zoom out activity Grey and black.
Video via Shutterstock:
Pink Jellyfish, Mauve stinger or Purple-striped Jelly (Pelagia noctiluca) © Andriy Nekrasov
Blue spotted stingray captured on the Great Barrier Reef © Freemanfootage
Colorful fishes on reef 42 © hauthaler
Large giant moray eel gymnothorax javanicus © Paul Vinten
Giant puffer fish blue models for the camera on a tropical coral reef © BlackBoxGuild
Coral garden seascape © Nemo Dahab
School of Powder Blue Surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternon) © dualstock
Anemonefish nemo couple swimming underwater © Lotus_studio
Powder Blue Surgeonfish Swimming on Coral Reef © Rashevskyi Viacheslav
Greenland shark or grey shark, appearing overnight in the Arctic Ocean © Le cinquieme reve
Whale shark from below © Evgeny Kovban
Whale shark swims in blue water with SCUBA Divers © RWBrooks
Stingray Shovelnose Ray and Sharks swimming in school of fish © MediaFuzeBox
Migrating Salmon Jumping up Brooks falls at Katmai National Park, Alaska © Sekar B
Dolphins jumping out of water slow motion New zealand Paihia bay © dpn cinematics
Music: Yu-City Kamata by Dan Bodan via YouTube Audio Library, CC0