Students Save Shad! (Part I) (R = 4.1)

publication date: May 7, 2012
author/source: Carol Montgomery

StudentsSaveShadBased on a true science story from the book Let the River Run Silver Again by Sandy Burk and trustworthy online resources, this 3-part environmental script series shares how students helped save the American shad (fish).  Hosted by student TV journalists, our free "Students Save Shad!" Readers Theater script integrates curriculum across subject lines in a memorable experience.  Complete with curriculum links for easy lesson plans and further research, this inspiring story will motivate elementary and middle school students to take action and make a difference. 

TIME:  about 5 1/2 minutes         CAST: 6-21+          TONE:  educational, light      READABILITY:  grade 4.1 (grade 3.5 without the words "announcer" or "narrator")

Here is an excerpt from this free environmental Readers Theater script, but make sure you check the download so you get the shad cheer!

Students Save Shad!   (Part I)
(Based on a true story)
Carol Montgomery ©2012

Announcer #1:  This is Kids’ World News with Part I of this week’s top story, “Students Save Shad!”

Announcer #2:  Poor Shad.  What happened to him that the kids had to save him?

Announcer #1:  No one had to save HIM.  Shad is a kind of fish.

Announcer #2:  What?  A bunch of students had to save one fish name Shad?

Announcer #1:  No, no, no.  A lot of students from a lot of schools have saved a lot of fish called shad.

Announcer #2:  Oh, I see.  There’s a lot of fish named Shad and a whole bunch of schools get together to save all the fish named Shad.  Weird.

Announcer #1:
  Let’s get on with our story and you’ll learn all about the American shad.

Announcer #2:
  Ah...  Shad is an American.  Where’s he live?

Announcer #1:  Shad is the name of a kind of American fish.  Students helped rescue the fish in “The Great Shad Adventure.”

Announcer #2:  I love adventures.  Tell me more.

Announcer #1:  I have a better idea.  Let’s play the first video.  That tells the whole shad story.

Announcer #2:  I don’t like sad stories.  I thought you said this was an adventure.

Announcer #1:  It is.  And, it’s a SHAD story with a very happy ending.

Announcer #2:  What are we waiting for, then?  Let’s roll the video!

Announcer #1:  Okay, here comes the narrator!

Narrator #1:  This video series is based on a true story about students who lived near the Potomac River that runs through Washington D.C.  Let’s join them in Part I as their class shares a little about the American shad.  Here’s their teacher...

Teacher:  Many years ago, when the Native Americans lived in this area all the rivers were clean and healthy.  A man could go out and catch delicious fish to help feed his family.  In the Potomac River one of the historically popular fish to catch is called...

Class:  The American shad.

Teacher:  Right!  Our first president, George Washington, was the most famous American shad fisherman in this area.   In fact, his troops at Valley Forge were saved from starvation because of dried...

Class:   American shad!

Teacher:  Right again!  American shad has been an important food--for people and for animals.  What do you remember about the American shad?

Student #1:  The American shad is a big, silvery fish with a row of dark spots on its side.

Student #2:   They hatch in a river, swim to the ocean, then come back to the exact same river years later to spawn in the spring.

Student #3:  If they live long enough, like five years, they can migrate more than 12,000 miles--in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans and then swim to lay eggs up rivers.

Student #4:  They eat plankton, insects, and sometimes other fish when they’re bigger.

Teacher:  Excellent!  But, who eats the American shad?

Student #5:  Minnows eat the shad eggs and babies in the rivers.

Student #6:  Catfish and bass eat the little ones in the rivers.

Student #7:  In the ocean, big fish like tuna eat them.  Plus, sharks and dolphins eat shad.

Student #8:  Seals and sea lions also like to eat shad in the ocean.

Student #9:  Bald eagles and osprey eat the shad when the big fish come back to their own fresh-water rivers to lay eggs.

Student #10:  I eat shad!  The fish were nailed to planks standing next to a fire to cook it;  I mean smoke it.  It was delicious fishes!

Class: (laughs)

Teacher:  Delicious fishes are nutritious. 

Class:  (laughs) 

Teacher:   Remember, the shad hatch in freshwater rivers and years later go back to the same place they hatched to lay their eggs.  Let’s share our American shad story about these delicious fishes, so our video audience can learn WHY we almost lost the American shad...

Student #11: 
Shad needed a safe place to lay their eggs...
        so they’d hatch, so they’d hatch, so they’d hatch.

Student #12:  But it had to be away from the sea...
        where they’d hatched, where they’d hatched, where they’d hatched.

(Continued--including the shad cheer...)

***Click on the PDF link below to see the full printable version of the environmental science Readers Theater script "Students Save Shad! (Part I)".

Download the PDF
"Students Save Shad!  (Part I)", an environmental science script for elementary or middle school students or families committed to the environment.

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