Grade 2 Activity 3 - The Colorful Koi

During your visit to the Garden...

Activity #3: The Colorful Koi

(The ideas introduced in this activity are completed in Activity #4.)

Lesson Objective:
Students will make predictions about koi fish color variation based on observations in a photograph, and will compare and sort live koi in a “natural” habitat.


  • Chart paper or board
  • Index cards (5x7) or data sheet handout
  • Pencils

Before you go:

  1. Just before the field trip, show students the koi pictures again. Have students describe the variations in color that they see in the pictures.
  2. Chart the different colors on a piece of chart paper to refer again to after the trip. Because there are many variations, you'll want to distinguish between solid colors (all orange) and mixed colors (orange and black). You might even create codes: O for orange, O+B for orange and black, etc. This will allow students to use this shorthand as they collect data at the garden.
  3. Have students predict, based on the photographs, how many koi of each color they will see at the Japanese Gardens. Have students write their predictions down on post-it notes with their names and stick them next to the color on the chart paper (for example, how many koi do you think will have white spots?).

At the garden:
At the gardens, have students keep a tally of the number of fish they can spot of each color. Tell students to be careful not to count the same fish twice (this will be challenging, but fun)! Have students record their tallies on index cards or they can use the data sheet provided.