Steelhead Chant

This Steelhead Chant was created by two teachers:

By Matt Pope and Katie Carlson


I don’t know but I’ve been told

The Steelhead life cycle is very old

Females lay eggs in the redd

By moving their tales in the gravel bed

Males come along and fertilize with milt

And the cycle begins, the nest is built


The eggs lay there on the river ground

With a pinkish color and a shape that’s round

Oxygenated water must be really cold

So they hatch after being just a few weeks old


Sound off        Anadromous

Sound off        River and sea

Sound off        1234


The alevin’s have the yolk sac attached

This happens after the eggs have hatched

Give them the nutrition that they need

On the yolk sac they will feed


Once the yolk sac is all gone

The fry emerge with parr marks on

Which help them camouflage to not be prey

They search for food all night and day


Sound off        Cycle of life

Sound off        6 year span

Sound off        1234 endangered


After living in the river for one full year

Fry become smolt, parr marks disappear

Juveniles about 6 inches long

As they grow into adults and become strong


As an adult they can be almost 2 feet in length

Migrate to the ocean using their strength

Swimming downstream they make their way

For 2 to 3 years in the ocean they’ll stay


Sound off        Migration

Sound off        Unique fish

Sound off        1234 Steelhead


After living some years in the ocean blue

They migrate back knowing what to do

Using the scent of trees and the damp Earth

They return to spawn in the creek of their birth


The females move the tiny rocks in the gravel bed

They use their tales to make the redd

Eggs are laid and fertilized

Tiny pinkish spheres with two black eyes


Sound off        Cycle repeats

Sound off        Begin again

Sound off        1234 steelhead trout


steelhead chant

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Release Day Activities

Image result for trout in the classroom release


The release day is one of the most exciting days in the process of hatching fish. Bob Flasher created this list of activities you can use to extend the learning and fun on your release day:

  1. Science: Create a template for observing the weather and the ecosystem of the trout’s new habitat. This can be easily photocopied to distribute for attendees students to fill out. Items on this template may include: temperature of the air (if no thermometer is available they can write “hot, cold, mild,”), temperature of the water, biotic factors, abiotic factors, the amount of wind and sunshine. This template may also include an area to draw, color, and label the location.
  1. Language arts: Standing in a circle, ask students to share how they feel about today’s activities. Another option is to challenge them to come up with one word that best describes their experience today. They may also want to share wishes for the survival of their trout in the wild.  Then, in their journal, record observations of the watershed, feelings about freeing the trout, poems about the trout life cycle, etc.
  2. Physical education: Play Oh Trout! to return student focus to the basic needs of trout: food, water and shelter. If you’ve already played this enough, do Habitat Lap Sit instead.
  3. Habitat Lap Sit: Students form a shoulder-to-shoulder circle. Have each student in turn call out the basic survival needs of trout, going around the circle (food, water, shelter, food, water, shelter, etc). All students then turn to face one direction so they are looking at each other’s backs. Take two or three sideways steps toward the center of the circle.  (Students should now be uncomfortably close to each other.) Instruct everyone to put their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.  If this is still a reach, have everyone take a few more steps toward the center of the circle. Then on the count of three, students, keeping their knees together, try to sit on the knees of the student behind them…as the student in front of them tries to sit on their knees in turn.  If the habitat has all the basic needs in the right places at the right time, the circle of sitting students will hold.  If it doesn’t, the whole ecosystem will collapse. After a collapse, ask students if they would like to try again, telling them that students in one grade below theirs did it successfully.
  4. More science: Play Ecosystem Connections, a game in which students become scientists trying to see the connections between everything in the watershed. Groups of 6-7 students stand in a circle, shoulder-to-shoulder.  Each reaches across the circle and grabs the hand of one other student.  (This simulates one of the local ecological connections like trout eating insects, or sunshine growing plants.)  Then each student reaches across the circle with their free hand and grabs the hand of a different student.  The challenge is now to untangle this knot of inter-relationships to see the connections more clearly.  Students can rotate hands, but cannot let go of hands while they work cooperatively to untangle the knot. Most groups will succeed.  Some end up in one circle and others in two interlocking ones. If some groups finish quickly, ask them to form a new knot and try again to see whether their success was luck or skill. Some get stuck and you can tell that group that it’s nighttime now and interactions will change.  Ask students to release one hand and grab a different hand, then try to untangle the new nighttime knot. If they still can’t succeed, you can tell them that ecological relationships are so complex that scientists still haven’t figured out most of them.
  5. Culinary Arts: Have a parent volunteer bake trout-shaped cookies, which the students can decorate with icing, sprinkles, etc. Another option is to make chocolate trout beforehand using a mold. These can be shared with chaperones, principals, and the press on release day.


Have fun experiencing the watershed that your aquarium simulated. Appreciate the birds, dragonflies, newts, and other wildlife that are sharing your trout’s habitat.  Send us your ideas and copies of the work generated by your students.

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Should I Feed My Fish?

Feeding the fry is a very nurturing behavior. Students feel they are “caring and providing for” their young charges. Fish that are fed while in the classroom may grow larger more quickly. Many teachers struggle on the issue of whether to feed the fry or not. The danger is that the fish food adds contaminants to the tank as does the fecal matter generated once the fish begin eating. This makes it more difficult to keep the tank clean and increases the risk of mortality.

feeding fish

As the fish are only in your tank for a maximum of 8 weeks from egg delivery, they do not need to be fed – they can survive for a couple of weeks without food. Some teachers opt to feed the fish for a day or two prior to release as this fulfills the desire students feel to “nurture” the fish while minimizing the risk of mortality.

If you choose to feed fry, here are some guidelines:

  • Only use the food provided by CDFW hatcheries.
  • Provide a tiny amount of food. Less is better; more is dangerous. If any food particles fall to the gravel, the fish have been overfed.
  • Use your sterilized turkey baster to remove all debris from tank on a regular basis and change the water frequently to reduce contaminants.
  • Watch for dying fish and if spotted, release the survivors as soon as possible

We recommend NOT feeding the fish, or feeding them just prior to release. Ultimately though, it is your decision. Good luck with your fish!

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Watch Eggs “Dance”

New Videos Available Of Eggs Incubating and Hatching

The eggs seem so quiet and still in the tank but they are not! Jim Scherer of Grizzly Peak Fly Fishers created several videos of eggs incubating and the fish emerging from the egg. One is a  time lapse video of eggs in a tank where he has condensed 12 hours into 1 minute.

We have posted 3 videos and will be adding more soon. Take a look. The links are posted on the CAEP webpage for curriculum aids – scroll down to the “Video” section.





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Resources For Language Arts

Here are two excellent resources to help you encourage your students to read about fish as you move through the process of hatching fish:


Student Reading List

This list includes titles that provide content-related, grade-appropriate reading opportunities for your students as they participate in the MinnAqua Leader’s Guide lessons and activities. These recommended titles support the lesson concepts and learning objectives of each chapter
A short but helpful list of aquatic related book reviews.
Image result for students reading
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National Trout in the Classroom Quilt Project

Do you or your teachers want to join in the national trout/salmon quilt project?  It’s an opportunity for a class to share their TIC/SIC story with other classes, and to hear back from TIC/SIC students across the country!

quilt debbie doreen small

All each class has to do is decorate quilt squares – 8” x 8” pieces of fabric, usually about 25 total – and send them to the other participating schools.  In return, you’ll receive squares from around the country, which you can sew together as seen at

Note that this year’s theme is SYMBIOSIS.

If you’re interested, sign up via google form by February 3rd. .  Signing up is a commitment to make and send out the ~25 squares.  You’ll have about a month to decorate the squares and write letters to your fellow TIC/SIC classes; squares will be due out to the other schools by March 6th.

Detailed instructions are included in the PDF file attached to this note.  That way, if you wanted to get started early on your craft project, you totally can!  Remember, this year’s theme is SYMBIOSIS.  See the attached file for more information.

A more detailed set of instructions and full mailing list will be sent out by February 8th.  This year we are creating quilts that do not need to be washable.  This expands the types of media you can use on your quilt.  It does not need to be waterproof, but should stand up to many excited students handling the square when they receive it.

To sign up, click here to fill out the form by February 3rd.

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Micro-Grants for Kids

The Karma for Cara Foundation is a nonprofit founded by 21-year-old Cara Becker and her family while Cara was undergoing treatment for leukemia at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Cara and her two brothers began volunteering at a young age as part of their family’s commitment to community service, and at the Kimmel Center they saw a tremendous need to help support other patients and their families who were also challenged by cancer. Tragically, Cara passed away four months after her diagnosis, but her wish to help others through K4C lives on with the support of an ever-growing circle of family and friends.

To date, the foundation has awarded forty grants totaling $27,286 and has engaged hundreds of volunteers in more than a thousand hours of community service.

As part of an effort to promote and support youth voluntarism, k4C started a microgrant program in the fall of 2014 to encourage kids 18 and under to apply for funds between $250 and $1,000 to complete service projects in their communities. Examples of fundable projects include but are not limited to turning a vacant lot into a community garden, rebuilding a school playground, or helping senior citizens get their homes ready for winter.

Application deadlines are seasonal (July 1, October 1, January 1, and April 1), and decisions will be made within a month of each deadline.

For complete program guidelines, profiles of featured projects, and application instructions, see the Karma for Cara Foundation website.

Link to Complete RFP


If you choose to apply, please feel free to contact Ethan to help with your application.

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