Fishing and Statistics


Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single number, while a measure of variation describes how its values vary with a single number.
Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.


Students will need a Chromebook, Windows or Mac computer to play the game. Stories can be read on a computer or tablet or printed out.

Time Required

75 -105 minutes.


This lesson begins with a game teaching statistics, with a level assessing weights of salmon. Next, students read stories about salmon from the Pacific Northwest tribal communities. The lesson ends with a game outdoors or in the gym where students ‘catch’ salmon and learn the impact of overfishing. Optional activity includes creative writing or artwork to accompany the salmon stories.


Play a Game (25 minutes)

Play Disaster Deduction Detectives through Level 4 where players compute mean weights of fish caught with and without an outlier. Earlier levels discuss median and statistical questions.

Fish catching game in Disaster Deduction Detectives

Read Salmon Stories (35 minutes)

This 35-page booklet of salmon stories comes from a collaborative effort of the tribal communities of the Pacific Northwest, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and Seattle Aquarium. In addition to four stories about salmon, traditional games featuring salmon are described. You can print the booklet or copy the link and assign it in your Google classroom or other online system.

Depending on your available class time and their reading level, you may wish to just assign one or two stories or the whole booklet.

NOTE: You can find the entire 72-page Teachers Guide, One with the Watershed, including the stories, here. It has a wealth of information, games and activities. We highly recommend reading it.

Physical Education and Math – Play the Salmon Catcher Game (15 minutes)

This game is explained on page 30 of the Teacher’s Guide and on page 24 of the Salmon Stories booklet. A group of 4 or 5 students must catch a classmate (a salmon) by forming a net around it by holding hands. Play with lots of salmon and one ‘net’ and then with lots of ‘nets’ and few salmon. After the game, discuss how having too many fishers for the number of fish makes it difficult for each group to get enough salmon for a feast.


Students responses to the questions in the Disaster Deduction Detectives game on statistical questions, creating and interpreting dot plots, median and mean with and without an outlier are all scored automatically and can be found in the teacher reports.

Differentiated Instruction

Optional: Creative Writing OR Art and Social Studies (30 minutes)

The Salmon Stories booklet has minimal illustrations. Allow students 30 minutes to create an illustration for one of the stories. For students who would prefer to write a story instead, allow them to select one of the topics suggested in the booklet, for example, on page 23 of the student booklet (page 29 in the Teacher’s Guide) students are asked to imagine a discussion between a salmon and the forest.