They’re fun to look at in an aquarium or to try to catch in a lake, but did you know that fish breathe? And have you ever wondered how you could see this in action without putting your head under water?  You can learn about how fish breathe right at home or in the classroom! This big idea is made tangible for kids with this easy to set up activity to show how fish breathe underwater.  We love ocean science activities here!

HOW DO FISH BREATHE UNDERWATER SCIENCE ACTIVITY

How do fish breathe ocean science experiment for kids

HOW DO FISH BREATHE UNDERWATER?

Get ready to add this simple ocean science activity to your lesson plans this year. If you want to learn about how fish breathe underwater, let’s dig in!  While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun ocean activities.

Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind!  Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun!  Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!

 

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HOW DO FISH BREATHE SCIENCE ACTIVITY

Let’s get right to learning about how do fish breathe.  Go ahead and get prepared to see this big idea made understandable for young learners right in your kitchen or classroom.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Clear glass jar
  • Cup
  • Water
  • Coffee filter
  • Coffee grounds
  • Rubber band

how do fish breathe supplies for experiment

SCIENCE ACTIVITY SET UP:

STEP 1: Fill a cup with water and mix in a tablespoon of coffee grounds.  

Discuss how the coffee mixture is like water in the ocean.

STEP 2: Place a coffee filter over the top of your glass jar with a rubber band around the top holding it on.

The coffee filter is like the gills on a fish.  See below for more information about fish gills.

STEP 3: Pour the coffee ground and water mixture slowly in the top of the jar over the coffee filter.

STEP 4: Watch the water filter through the coffee filter.

Discuss what has been left behind in the coffee filter.  Similarly, what do fish gills filter from the water?  Where does the oxygen go?

CLASSROOM TIPS

This simple ocean science activity works well combined with lots of discussion.  Get kids thinking by asking questions about how they breathe, and extend it to what they might already know about how fish breathe.

For example; Can fish breathe out of water?  Why or why not?

THE SIMPLE SCIENCE OF HOW FISH BREATHE

Do fish have lungs?  No, fish have gills instead of lungs and so they can’t take oxygen in from the air like we do.  Instead they get their oxygen from the water.

But how does that happen? Water goes in the mouth of the fish and out its gills.  Gills are made of very thin tissue which acts like a filter to remove oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide.

Water moves through the fish gills, and as it does so the gills pull oxygen out of the water and into the blood to take it to all the cells in the fish’s body.

Here, the coffee filter represents the gills, and the coffee grounds represent the oxygen. The coffee filter gill is collecting the oxygen to send to the fish’s circulatory system.

Did you know that hermit crabs also use gills even though they can come out of the water too? However, they can only do this in humid conditions where the gills can pull the moisture from the air!

WHY CAN’T FISH BREATHE OUT OF WATER?

Another interesting question to ask is why fish can’t breathe out of water? Certainly, there’s still plenty of oxygen for them, right?

Unfortunately, their gills collapse and then can’t function properly to pull in the oxygen they need and circulate it through their system.

Even though we can get oxygen from the air we breathe in, the air in our lungs is very moist to make it easier to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

LEARN ABOUT MORE OCEAN ANIMALS

HOW DO FISH BREATHE ACTIVITY FOR OCEAN SCIENCE

Discover more fun and easy science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.

Best ever STEM and science activities for kids.

Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges? 

We have you covered…

Click below to get your quick and easy STEM challenges.