Observation and Sequence of Fish Developmental Stages


Lesson Plan Standards

1.4.1 1.4.2 1.5.6 1.5.8 1.7.2 3.2.1


Students will either observe real, fixed zebrafish or pictures to complete a graphic organizer that allows students to place the developmental stages in chronological order.


Students will be able to distinguish between developmental stages of zebrafish as well as compare those stages to humans by directly observing zebrafish embryos and completing a graphic organizer.

Lesson Materials

Fixed zebrafish at different developmental stages-see pictures file.
Reading questions
Zebrafish Embryology Data Chart
Zebrafish Embryology Pictures


  1. The instructor will introduce the zebrafish by discussing the organism's importance as a model for studying human disease and development. 
  2. Students could examine zfin.org on the Internet to investigate the vast amount of research currently being done using zebrafish. 
  3. Students should then read the article "Small Fish, Big Science" and complete the guiding questions worksheet.
  4. Observe zebrafish embryos (live or fixed) at each stage of development and record results on a graphic organizer. 
  5. If fish are not available, use the zebrafish embryology pictures and zebrafish embryology data chart.
  6. Compare fish embryo stages with the human.
  7. Review when major systems within the zebrafish mature and compare this to human systems' form and function.
  8. Transition: Show clips of wild type and BOP fish. What system do you think is malfunctioning?


Zebrafish book on zfin.org "Small Fish, Big Science" article by Jane Bradbury found at http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020148

Maryland State Standards

The student will organize data appropriately using techniques such as tables, graphs, and webs (for graphs: axes labeled with appropriate quantities, appropriate units on axes, axes labeled with appropriate intervals, independent and dependent variables on correct axes, appropriate title).
The student will analyze data to make predictions or decisions or to draw conclusions.
The student will read a technical selection and interpret it appropriately.
The student will describe similarities and differences when explaining concepts and/or principles.
The student will identify and evaluate the impact of scientific ideas and/or advancements in technology on society.
The student will explain processes and the function of related structures found in unicellular and multicellular organisms.

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