Goldfish VS Goldfish Cracker...Living or Non-Living

To finish our unit about Living and Non-Living I wanted to give my ESL first graders something that would be meaningful, engaging, and "somewhat" hands on to help solidify the terms. I had seen many other teachers do a comparison between an earthworm and gummy worms...but anyone who knows me knows I have an unnatural fear of worms, maggots, snails, that was out. Also I live in Abu Dhabi and wasn't too sure that worms would be available. Anyway after much thought I decided on comparing goldfish to goldfish crackers. It was an easy comparison and the fish move much more than a worm would, so I thought this would be great. Plus the kids got to eat goldfish crackers after which is always a plus.

I made a recording chart that asked a specific question using key vocabulary about what living things needed, which we would apply to both the goldfish and the goldfish cracker. The kids picked up on the topic pretty quickly, and soon there was some lively discussion about how they could see the goldfish moving but couldn't hear the goldfish crackers matter how quiet we were. After about 20 minutes of observation and comparison, my students deduced which one was living, and thus proceeded to eat the non-living :) And an even better benefit; all the kids wanted to go back to class and write about the goldfish!

Check out some of our photos below of the activity! They still don't know that we get to keep the goldfish in our class...sshhh!

The test subjects and recording sheet. At the bottom is our assessment for how much work the students could do independently.

One of my kiddos comparing the size of the goldfish cracker to the goldfish.

SSHH, maybe if we are really quiet we will hear it breathing...nope!

Some inspired writing about the goldfish in our journals!


  1. Such a cute idea! I think I might do this for my evaluation. I love their journals too. :)

  2. Where can I find this journal template?


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