Spanish Version

Life Cycle of the Pacific Salmon

Science Activity

The purpose of this activity is to help students understand the concepts of life cycle, dependency, recycling, and innate behavior. You can find out more about the purpose and concepts.


YOU may wish to give student background information on the life cycle of Pacific salmon.


  • Paper 14" to 17" long
  • Markers or crayons
  • Rulers
  • String
  • Glue or tape
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Blank U.S. map (optional)


  1. Have students draw picture blocks or a cartoon strip, showing in order the five life cycle forms of Pacific salmon:
    • Eggs in the stream gravel
    • Embryo in the stream gravel
    • Fry in the home stream
    • Fingerlings traveling downstream
    • Adults in the ocean and traveling back upstream

  2. Tape the ends of the picture together so that it forms a circle to illustrate the never-ending circle of life.

  3. Punch holes in the top of the picture and hang it from the ceiling of the class.
  1. Have students label on a blank U.S. map:
    • The Columbia and Snake rivers
    • The states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
    Then count the number of states Pacific salmon swim through.

  2. Have students pretend they are Pacific salmon and write a "Life Cycle Diary" describing their adventures.

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