Identifying Arizona’s Native Fish

In this activity, students will learn how to use a dichotomous key to identity native fish.

By completing this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Obtain and evaluate information from a nonfiction text about classification.
  • Identify fish from pictures using a dichotomous key.
  • Create a dichotomous key from unique objects.

More About this Lesson Plan

Wild Kids is a collection of simple activities that can be used to introduce students to different wildlife and life science concepts. Each activity includes a two page printable student worksheet and a page of teacher instructions. They have been aligned to the Arizona academic science standards and can be used to promote three dimensional teaching.

In this activity, students will read about dichotomous keys and how to use them. Then, they will apply their knowledge in a couple of different ways. First, they are asked to use a simply dichotomous key to identify native fish from images. Then, they are asked to use the same images to create a new dichotomous key. Finally, they are asked to find other objects (not fish) that can be classified and create another dichotomous key to help identify individual objects in that group.


  • Eric Proctor, Wildlife Education Coordinator,
    Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)
  • Other AZGFD staff

Standards Correlation

This lesson has been correlated to the following Arizona Department of Education academic standards:

  • 8th Grade

    1. 8.L4.U1.12

Education through AZGFD

See resources for teachers, including lesson plans. Learn about hunter education, and classes to earn bonus points.

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The goal of the AZGFD education program is to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of the state’s wildlife resources by using wildlife as a context for learning.

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hunter education for bonus points

Classroom and online instruction, and field days for hunter education. Online “Ethically Hunting Arizona” class allows hunters to earn a lifetime bonus point.

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