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In “Finicky Fish Finish…Last!” students explore what has happened to the Colorado River and the reasons why it is so difficult for the razorback sucker to thrive in a changed environment. Working as ichthyologists (fish biologists) at Lake Mead, students collect water quality data such as temperature, pH, and clarity -- to determine whether current habitat conditions are sufficient for survival of young razorback suckers. Students observe and identify non-native fish in Lake Mead as they learn how the razorback sucker interacts with these neighbors. Students assess whether Lake Mead is still a good habitat for razorback suckers. Using the knowledge they’ve gained, students design ideal refuges for the razorback sucker, including ideas to get the word out about this endangered native fish.

These pre-visit activities are designed to prepare students for this on-site experience by introducing them to habitat needs of all species and to initiate student inquiry into why species, such as the razorback sucker, become endangered.


Ecology – Study and teaching (Elementary); Rare fishes – Study and teaching (Elementary); Razorback sucker; Teaching – Aids and devices; United States – Lake Mead


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Environmental Health and Protection | Natural Resources and Conservation




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