Crawdad Grab

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this outdoor, freshwater activity, learners explore the behavior and food preferences of crawdads (or crabs) by "fishing" for them with various baits. An extension of this activity is to mark learners' catches with red nail polish and release them back into the water, then try to find them on a later day to discover how far they may have moved.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • two- to four-meter pieces of heavy string or 15-20 lb. test fishing line (2 per team of two)
  • large alligator clips (2 per team of two)
  • one- to two-meter-long fishing poles (2 per team of two)
  • long-handled net with hoop opening 20 cm or larger (1 per team of two)
  • crawdad container (bucket, dishpan, burlap bag) (1 per team of two)
  • a variety of baits (e.g. bacon, meat or fish scrapes, bones, pork rinds, liver, fish guts, clams) cut into strips or chunks
  • old nylon stockings or mosquito netting
  • weights (e.g. nails, washers)
  • red nail polish (optional)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1982