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Fish Taking in Water to Breathe

Our observed phenomenon was the ability for fish to swim underwater. We both found it really interesting and amazing that they are  created to live in a setting that would not allow humans to breathe. We decided to look more into how they were created to live underwater because it was something we were able to both observe through past experiences and research.

Sioux Center, Iowa

Driving Question

  • How does the way fish are created allow them to breathe underwater?

Probing Questions

  • How are fish created differently from other living creatures?
  • What other animals have gills?
  • If fish can breathe underwater, why can’t humans?

Classroom Suggestions

  • This could be introduced during a habitat unit. Students could look at how all animals are different based on where they live and the conditions of their habitat.  
  • If there are students who like to fish in the class, it would be interesting to have them lead a discussion. They could talk about what  they noticed was different about the fish and any other curiosities they may have had. This could lead them to wonder why fish can breathe underwater. 
  • If students have a biology unit this could be beneficial to add. They could look at the different types of animals such as amphibians and mammals and learn about them.

Relevant Related Resources

  • How Do Fish Breathe? | Tappity: This website offers both a video and a typed  version to explain to young kids how fish  breathe underwater. It clearly answers the phenomenon and is easy to understand and use for grade school children. It would be helpful in a classroom because students do not need to rely on reading, instead they can listen and see how fish breathe underwater.
  • How Do Fish Breathe Underwater? | Little Bins, Little Hands: A hands-on activity is given by this website.  The activity that it shows explains to students how fish are able to breathe underwater. Through an experiment they are able to see and understand better how the gills on a fish work. This website was chosen because it is a way for students to learn that doesn’t rely only on reading or a video.

Iowa Core Alignment


Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats

Credit Info

Phenomena submitted by Alexis Stuit and Alayna Van Regenmorter

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