Overfishing Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan's contents and suggestions help your students learn more about overfishing. You'll be provided discussion questions and topics, a quiz, an activity, and an extension for further learning.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson plan, students should be able to:

  • Define overfishing
  • Delineate why overfishing has occurred
  • Describe the problems overfishing creates
  • Identify the ways by which overfishing can be mitigated


45-60 minutes without the activity

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.5

Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).


  • Get the class ready for this lesson by briefly explaining what overfishing is, then ask these questions:
    • Why do you think overfishing occurs?
    • What do you think can be done to stop or minimize it?
  • Watch the following video lesson together as a class:
  • Once you've watched the entire video, ask the class if they have any specific questions about what they just saw. Address those questions.
  • After all of their questions have been answered, start a class discussion to check the class's knowledge and reinforce student understanding:
    • What is overfishing?
    • What are the causes of overfishing?
    • Show the class videos or pictures of how these large commercial fishing boats operate and sweep up their catch for a bigger impact. Videos or images showing bycatch, such as a dolphin or whale caught up in the netting, may be even more powerful.
    • Discuss with the class how overfishing not only affects the species that is overfished and what we eat, but also how the overfishing affects the entire ecosystem and, thus, humans on a much wider scale.

Key Terms Activity

  • Place the following key terms on the class board:
    • Overfishing
    • Bycatch
    • Bottom trawls
    • Dynamite fishing
    • Fishing down the food web
    • Management
    • Catch shares
  • Each students should define each term in their own notebook.
  • Once everyone has finished, pick students at random to share their definitions. Check for accuracy.

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