Menhaden: A Keystone Species in the Bay


Lesson Plan: Fish Oil, Really?

Lesson Plan Standards

3.1.1 3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.5.4 3.6.2


Students will be introduced to menhaden, their feeding behavior and how fishermen capture them in Chesapeake Bay.


1.  Students will watch the following video clips to make observations about menhaden feeding behavior and the menhaden fishery.    

2.  Introduce the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning method to students.


Lesson Materials

Video clips listed below.

Pencil and paper


1. Menhaden swimming and feeding. PEW Charitable Trust,

2. Purse seining for menhaden on the Hush Puppy

      3. After watching the video clips have students write down their observations either individually or in small groups.

4.  Introduce Claim-Evidence-Reasoning method to students through the following video,

The video "My Dad's an Alien" commercial


Formative Assessment   What are the possible connections between menhaden and stress on the Chesapeake Bay and marine food chain?  Brainstorm some ideas in small group discussion and then share these with the class.  Begin to use CER in group discussions as a format for developing ideas.


For more information download the Content Primer

Maryland State Standards

The student will be able to describe the unique characteristics of chemical substances and macromolecules utilized by living systems.
The student will analyze the relationships between biotic diversity and abiotic factors in environments and the resulting influence on ecosystems.
The student will analyze the interrelationships and interdependencies among different organisms and explain how these relationships contribute to the stability of the ecosystem.
The student will investigate how natural and man-made changes in environmental conditions will affect individual organisms and the dynamics of populations.
The student will illustrate how all organisms are part of and depend on two major global food webs that are positively or negatively influenced by human activity and technology.
The student will investigate a biological issue and be able to defend their position on topics such as animal rights, drug and alcohol abuse, viral diseases (e.g., AIDS), genetic engineering, bioethics, biodiversity, population growth, global sustainability, or origin of life. (NTB)

The Blue Crab: Callinectes Sapidus

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pile of cooked crabs