SOS: Hook ‘Em

Creative, research-based instructional strategies – presented by teachers, for teachers.

The Spotlight on Strategies series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating Discovery Education digital media into your curriculum in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.

The SOS series includes more than 150 different strategies you can use to engage students in active learning with digital media.

Leave a comment and let us know how you’ll use this strategy in your class.


Special Thanks: This strategy was contributed by Abdelnasser Abdelhamid, a DEN Community Member from Cairo, Egypt.



Hook ‘Em

PDF  and Video Versions

Fishing is a hobby that many people enjoy. The challenge of using a simple metal hook and line to catch a wiggly fish is captivating, and successfully reeling one in takes patience and practice. The process of learning a new academic skill is similar. Patience and opportunities to practice are required to master new information.

According to Dr. John Medina, our brains are wired to learn the things that we have repeated exposure to. Experiencing academic content multiple times, in a variety of ways, helps students to develop and hone their understanding and memory. Hook your students into practicing what they need to know by involving them in a fishing trip that has them learning, practicing, and applying new concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Materials: Discovery Education video segment, cardboard or wooden cutouts of fish with some type of loop attached to them, the fish puzzle page (page 4 of this document), markers, fishing poles (make these with sticks, a line of string or yarn and a paperclip for the hook)



  1. Prepare to use this strategy:
    • Select a Discovery Education video segment that relates to your unit of study.
    • Create multiple fish by tracing the fish pattern onto stiff cardboard or wood and then cutting them out (Note: if you use wood you will need to have a saw to cut out the fish.)
    • Attach a bent paper clip or ring to the top side of each fish so it can be hooked.
    • Write a question that relates to your media selection on the bottom of each fish.
    • Make a copy of the fish puzzle page for each group of students
  2. Set up your fish pond by marking a line on the floor and designating one side of it as water and the other side as land. Scatter the fish, ring side up, in the area designated as water.
  3. Share the video with students. Help them know what to watch for by incorporating another SOS strategy, such as Three Truths and One Lie, Get A Clue, or XO Let’s Go!
  4. Divide students into teams. Give each team a fishing pole.
  5. Have teams take turns trying their skill at catching a fish.
  6. When a team catches a fish, have them turn it over, read the question aloud, and then work together to answer the question.
  7. If the question is answered correctly, the team colors in one piece of the fish puzzle. If the question is not answered correctly, the fish is thrown back and the next team takes a turn.
  8. Repeat the process.  The first team to color in their entire fish puzzle wins the fishing contest!

This strategy provides students with a fun way to revisit content addressed during the lesson.  They are encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers, and they have multiple exposures to material they need to learn.


  • Cut the fish puzzle up instead of having groups color the pieces. Reward students who answer questions correctly with puzzle pieces which they must then use to build a completed fish.
  • Vary the level of questions that you write on the fish.  While some questions can be basic knowledge/comprehension that check to see if students have a core understanding of the material, you should also include questions that require teams to synthesize and analyze material they are learning.
  • If you are working with students who have a competitive urge, label each question with point values according to the level of thinking required to produce an answer.

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  1. Jessica Walker said:

    I really liked the analogy that you used with fishing and relating it to teaching. One thing that I myself struggle with is to make sure we cover EVERY thing on the pacing guide. I am the type of person who likes to check a box off for completion to feel successful in a way. However, I must realize teaching isn’t necessarily for me to be successful, but for my students to be. It made me pause and think about how hard fishing is, I tried it several times. It never really got easier for me because I would try it one year and then maybe a couple of times another year. I never mastered the art of fishing because I didn’t practice. Practice is the key to mastery, so practice is the answer to success. We need to allow students more time to practice. We also must be patient when students are practicing and not get upset if they don’t get it. I know that all students learn at different rates, but do we always provide the opportunities for it to occur, learning at different speeds? So, we must ensure that students are afford the opportunity to practice. We as educators also must make sure students practice in a variety of different ways. What may work for one student, may not work for another. I agree with you that students must experience content multiple times and a variety of different ways to actually develop and learn. If teachers stopped worrying about the pacing and focused more on if they are learning, I think we would see greater success for students in the classroom. Students feeling successful in their learning will open up a whole new ball game.

  2. Abdelnasser Abdelhamid said:

    Thank you so much
    I will share more and more from my ideas and strategies

Comments are closed.