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Photo by Drew Farwell via Unsplash


Creative Writing


3rd, 4th, 5th


English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts


100 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

The Life of a Pacific Salmon

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Nov 30, 2023
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In this lesson, students learn the threats that salmon face, collaborate in oral storytelling, and share their perspectives with local stakeholders.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss the salmon life cycle, salmon habitat needs, and threats salmon face due to climate change or human impacts and connect to their lived experience with oral storytelling.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students use their senses and go on an imaginative field trip to incorporate details into their salmon stories.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students use a group storytelling technique called Story Spine to tell their own salmon and climate stories and share them with local stakeholders.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be taught after or during a salmon or fish unit.

  • This lesson provides opportunities for social-emotional check-ins so that students can recognize and understand their feelings as they learn about salmon and human-caused and climate-related problems.

  • Students have multiple opportunities to work effectively with partners or small groups.

  • Students feel empowered as they learn how to protect salmon and waterways and educate others about the importance of habitat protection and climate action.

  • Students have opportunities to practice oral speaking skills.

Additional Prerequisites


  • Students can work on their stream story in mixed-ability groups, pairs, or individually.

  • The oral response activity in the Inspire section can be tailored to suit students’ needs. For example, stronger speakers can be tasked with including three or more details in their responses.

  • Teachers can change how students share their oral responses or require that students share their responses in more than one way (e.g., watershed council, social media post, newspaper article, etc.).

  • Extension opportunities include having students tell their stories to younger student buddies, write their stories down, or draw pictures to go with the stories.

  • Stories could be turned into a story album to be shared as a collection.

  • Teachers can sign up for a free educator account on VoiceThread, a storytelling tool for the classroom.
Scientist Notes

The relationship between people, salmon, and climate change is examined in this lesson. Students are given the opportunity to learn about salmon, their life cycle, the effects of climate change on salmon, and how humans have contributed to salmon overfishing. Additionally, the lesson teaches students basic storytelling strategies so they may write and share their own narratives about how they feel about the catastrophic effects of climate change on salmon populations and how to safeguard salmon species in their ecosystems. After thoroughly fact-checking all the information, this lesson passed our review in terms of science.


Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to Oregon standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on the Oregon Climate Education Hub.
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