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Overfishing/Sustainable Fishing

Grade: 3-9

Lesson Time: 30-60 minutes

Materials Required:

  • Two or three bags of popped, plain popcorn (depending on class size)
  • Small paper cups (1 per student)
  • Large paper plates (1 per group)
  • Spoons (1 per group)
  • Straws (1 per student)
  • Watch (for timing)
  • Fishing Log (students can make these as part of the class, or they can be made beforehand)


Students will see how unregulated fishing can lead to depleted fish stocks. They will also have an opportunity to discuss the factors that may contribute to the depletion and come up with ways (regulations) to better manage their resource.

Massachusetts Science Frameworks:

  • Life Science, Grade 3-5: LS7. Give examples of how changes in the environment (drought, cold) have caused some plants and animals to die or move to new locations (migration)
  • Life Science, Grade 3-5: LS10. Give examples of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival; explain how some of these changes may affect the ecosystem
  • Life Science, Grade 6-8: LS12. Relate the extinction of species to a mismatch of adaptation and the environment
  • Life Science, Grade 9-12: Ecology 6.2. Analyze changes in population size and biodiversity (speciation and extinction) that result from the following: natural causes, changes in climate, human activity, and the introduction of invasive, non-native species.

Activity download: sustainability_activity

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