Fish Tank Literacy Station

A few years ago, I received a small fish tank through the Pets in the Classroom grant program. (More on that a little later)

It was a small 1.5 gallon tank with a pump, filter, and light, and three little glofish.  Set up was super easy and in a day or so, my classroom had a gurgling fish tank and a few little fishies swimming around.  The kids loved it - we named the fish, fed them each morning, watched them swim, and had fishy funeral services when necessary.  A really nice addition to the classroom.

I hadn't used the tank in a couple of years but  I remembered the calming sounds of the bubbling water, the quiet hum of the pump, and how mesmerized the children were when they were watching the fish swim around.   So I decided to pull the tank back out and set it up this year.

But this time, I really wanted the fish tank to be more of a learning tool instead of a passive, decorative fixture.  And the Fish Tank Literacy Center was on its way.

First, I need a good place for the tank to be stable, yet accessible.  I snagged a small nightstand from one of my kid's rooms at home.  It wasn't being used and it need a coat of paint anyway.  It was the perfect size for the tank to sit on top, fish care supplies in the little drawer, and literacy station materials on the bottom shelf.

The tank was very easy to set up and maintain, the supplies are inexpensive, and the fish have been healthy and active.  The original kit came glofish which cost about $10 each.  I wasn't willing to spend $20 or $30 on most likely short lived glofish no matter how cool they looked under the blacklight.

So I opted for $1.99 guppies.  They are colorful with large swishy tails and the kids just love them!

Now for the activities in the station.  I had a million ideas, but I settled on a writing and research emphasis.

I gathered as many books about fish as I could find, both fiction and nonfiction.  (I even found a book on making origami fish:)  The black basket on the bottom holds all the books.

Then I searched TpT to find a few grade level appropriate activities for the students to research and write about fish.  There are the two that I am currently using:
Jewel Pastor                   Simply Skilled in Second

Next, I added a journal.

And an I Can card - the timer is to remind the students not to watch the fish for too long before getting to work.

This is by far the students' favorite station in the room!  They are always engaged when they are there and are so proud of the work they are producing:)

If you are interested in ordering a fish tank through the Pets in the Classroom grant, go to this link to apply:
Pets in the Classroom Grant Page


  1. I just love this post and idea. The graphics you've used look so fresh and inviting too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So honored to see my resource here. :)