Fish Wheels

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In this activity, learners cut out and assemble wheels to explore how variations in fish body structures (mouth shape/position/teeth, body shape, tail shape, and coloration patterns) allow fish to survive and thrive in their habitats. The instructions include many questions for the facilitating educator to ask, helping the learner connect a fish’s behavior and habitat (especially its movement, what it eats, strategies for defense, and where it lives in the water column).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Card stock
  • Brass brads (4/fish wheel)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Print out of Fish wheels and Fish body (print at 90% size: To do this, go to “Page Setup” under “File” and change the scale to 90%) (from pdf)
  • Print out of Fish Wheels Directions (from pdf)
  • Print out Fish Adaptations Charts (from pdf)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • The Scientific Worldview
      • Asking Questions


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, NSF OCE-0731338