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June 9th, 2008
Something's Fishy in Scotland

Prep for Teachers

Prior to teaching, bookmark all of the Web sites used in the lesson and create a Microsoft Word document with all of the Web sites as hyperlinks for the students to access the sites. Make sure that your computer and the computer the students will be using have the necessary media players to play any video clips. These are Shockwave, Real Video, and Quicktime. Cue any videotapes to the segment(s) you plan on using to support your lesson. When using media, provide students with a focus for media interaction, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

Introductory Activity

  1. Fishing industry: BrainstormThis activity is meant to focus students’ attention on the topic at hand. It also will help you assess students’ background knowledge.

    Explain that the class will be seeing a film on the fishing industry in Scotland, and that to begin, you will think about people, industries/jobs, and political issues connected to the fishing industry.

    Have students form groups of four or five and give out copies of Student Organizer #1. Tell students that they will have about five minutes to come up with as many things as they can in answer to each question, drawing on what they know or have heard about the fishing industry. One person in each group should write down all the responses.

  2. At the end of the allotted time, have the groups report back to the class. Make a master list on chart paper and post it for later reference. As students continue through the activities, you can add to the chart if you wish.

Learning Activities

  1. Articles: Background InformationHand out the following articles. Students can read these articles on their own or with partners, using Student Organizer #2. as a guide. Follow with a class discussion of the questions listed on Student Organizer #2. For answers to the questions use the Student Organizer #2 Teacher Copy.
  2. Focus on Four CategoriesIntroduce the video and hand out Student Organizer #3. Tell students that as they watch the program, they should think about what they see as relating to four categories: social/personal (about the people in the program, especially the West family); environmental (about the impact of fishing on fish populations); economic (about the business of fishing, support industries and secondary businesses that may be effected); and political (regulations and policies about fishing; international fishing rights; political activism). Point out that there are overlaps among these categories and students should make quick decisions about how to categorize their observations.

    Student Organizer #3 has space for students to make notes — explain that they should indicate a minimum of three observations for each category.

    Show the entire one-hour documentary. When the video is over, have students form small groups to compare notes. Then have the small groups report out to the whole class. Points for discussion include:

    • What observations were most often noted?
    • Where do categories overlap?
  3. Follow by discussing the program using the discussion questions on Student Organizer #4. For answers to these questions use the Student Organizer #4 – Teacher Copy.
  4. How many fish?
  5. How do scientists estimate populations of fish? If you have Internet access in your classroom have your students complete the “Estimating Fish Populations” online activity that sheds light on sampling processes, courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You can also assign this activity as homework.

Culminating Activity

Alternative A: Jigsaw Research

  1. Use a jigsaw structure, students can do further research on the fishing industry in Scotland. In the jigsaw approach, students form groups and divide up a topic for research among group members, so that each student has a manageable chunk to work on. First, students do their discrete pieces; next; students from different groups who did the same piece get together to share their work and pool their knowledge; finally, students return to their original groups and present to each other. Students are responsible for learning all the material being researched; in order to do well they must listen to and learn from their fellow group members.NOTE: Detailed information on the jigsaw approach can be found on the Web site of Eliot Aronson, a leader in the field of cooperative learning: Also of interest is, a teacher-run site that offers guidelines for planning and conducting jigsaw activities.

    For this project, students can research the state of the fishing industry in Scotland using the categories that they considered when watching the video: social/personal; environmental; economic; and political. Students can work in groups of 5-6 with one or two students assigned to each of the four categories.

  2. When students have completed their research they can form temporary “expert groups” composed of all students assigned to the same category. In their expert groups time, they can discuss the main points of the category they researched and develop presentations. They can then return to their jigsaw groups to present on their category.The following resources may be useful to students:

Alternative B: Letter Writing

    Students can write letters to one of the people in the program, according to the instructions on Student Organizer #5. Finished letters can be shared with partners or small groups.

Cross Curricular Connection

  1. Students can read and report on the following:
    THE PERFECT STORM, by Sebastian Junger, a gripping account of a disastrous fishing voyage that includes vivid descriptions of the way of life of fishermen. Note: Students also might watch the movie adaptation of the book, though the book is far more detailed and innovative.

    The book COD by Mark Kurlansky, cited for Activity 5, a short and interesting history of that pivotal fish.

  2. Students can view the movie MYSTIC PIZZA, which revolves around life in a Portuguese fishing community in Connecticut.
  3. Students can find out about “disappeared” industries and institutions in their own communities. Was there a manufacturing plant, a church, or a school that closed? What were the effects of the closing? Who felt the effects the most? What, if anything, took the place of what had vanished? Did the industry or institution move locations, and if so, where? Local historical societies are good sources of information, as are interviews with elderly residents.

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