Email icon

Fortune Fish NGSS

  • Fortune Fish (package of 144)
    Item #: SS-40B
  • - +
  • Fortune Fish (package of 72)
    Item #: SS-40F
  • - +
Science phenomenon at its best!

Description

Actually a very thin piece of red cellophane in the shape of a 3.5-inch-long fish, this amazing innovation twists and curls when placed in the palm of your hand. It seems to move magically, different for different people. The truth is, it is sensitive to the moisture of your hand. An old favorite of demonstrators. Ask your students to explain what makes the fish move. Includes explanation.

Video

Lesson Ideas

Download the pdf of this lesson!

The Fortune Fish is a very thin piece of red cellophane in the shape of a fish, 8.9 cm (3.5 inch). When placed in the palm of a hand it twists and curls. It seems to move magically, different for different people.

Classroom Ideas

  1. Place a Fortune Fish in the hand of each student and observe. Ask students to brainstorm possible causes for the movements.

  2. Moisten a small piece of paper towel, ca. 12 cm2 (2 in2), with two drops of water. Holding the Fortune Fish by the tail and horizontal, slowly lower the head over the moistened piece of towel, without ever touching the towel. What do you observe? What happens when you lower the Fortune Fish, held vertically?

  3. Use a small piece of tape to fasten the tail of the fish to a table. Bring the moist paper towel close to its head. A Fortune Fish, which continuously moves up and down, can be called a Fortune Fish motor. Can you make one? What is the energy source for this motor? Can you find ways to increase the frequency of the up and down movement? How many repeating cycles can you observe without touching either the cellophane or the paper towel? Does the motor work better when the air is warmer or cooler? When covered with a large glass or not covered?

  4. Out of sight of students, place two drops of water on a scrap of rug, ca 20 cm2. Then, ask students to find the location of the water by using the Fortune Fish as a moisture detector.

  5. Discover other uses for the Fortune Fish.

Explanation
A common incorrect hypothesis is that heat causes the movement of the Fortune Fish. To show that this is not the correct, hold the tail of the Fortune Fish with tweezers over something warm. No movement is expected.

When the Fortune Fish is placed in a hand, moisture is absorbed on one side of the cellophane, causing that side to expand. If only one side expands, the thin cellophane curls. When the water on the cellophane evaporates, the fish becomes flat.

The Fortune Fish motor absorbs water when close to the moist paper towel and curls upward. Away from the higher concentration of water vapor, the water molecules are released from the cellophane and the fish becomes flat. For the Fortune Fish motor to work, there must be a difference in concentration of water vapor, so that water can be both absorbed and released. Slight circulation of air sometimes helps.

Write a Review

Reviews

20 reviews
Mr
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Feb 20, 2019
Our kids love these! Use the lesson plans and these fortune fish for an inexpensive, fun lesson!
Barry Wasserman

Was this review helpful?

1   0

The little fish that could...
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Dec 24, 2018
Great inexpensive gift for 5 sections of 8th graders. Nicely packaged.
Tim Agnello

Was this review helpful?

0   0

The Little Fish That Could
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Sep 23, 2018
As both a recently recently retired science teacher and now an occasional substitute teacher, I can attest to the fascination of students who encounter the fortune fish (in the palm of their hand), the first time. Students will be ablaze with questions as to what makes the fish do its movements, and the fish are great way to introduce or reinforce the scientific method as well as for students to conduct their own investigations. The fish will fascinate students from elementary grades to high school!
Mike Seftel

Was this review helpful?

2   0

even college students love these!
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Aug 12, 2015
These are great fun - I use them with my university general chemistry students. They really enjoy getting little "present", and are pretty fascinated to learn how these actually work.
Therese

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Oct 27, 2014
I use these little fish to do inquiry based learning. I usually combine them with a couple other short activities and watch the students get engaged and have fun while they are learning. The fortunes really attract my 8th grade students as they always like things that apply to them personally. It is a fun, reflective lesson day when we break out the fish!
Margaret Carter

Was this review helpful?

0   0

instructor
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 8, 2014
Fun. This amazing product allowed my students to create many hypothesis and many different experiments.
Xavier

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Conversation Piece
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Apr 22, 2014
These are great fun with the younger crowd. They generate varied explanations so they are good thought-provokers... and fun.
Marilyn Gorman

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Sep 26, 2013
Order was received promptly and as advertised
Caroline

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish was a hit our house
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Jan 2, 2013
Four sets of big-eyed wonder when the fish started to wiggle in their palms; then delighted laughs. Great fun and a science lesson too.
Spring Creek Academy

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Oct 15, 2012
Easy to use; students love them and the fish are a good way to introduce Questions and Hypotheses--Why do the fish do what they do? Then have the students design one or more experiments to test their hypotheses.
Nancy

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish is Fantastic
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Jun 2, 2012
I used the Fortune Fish to introduce the Scientific Process to my 5th grade class. They couldn't wait to find out how it worked but I wouldn't just tell them, they had to work through the process to form a question, then devise a hypothesis and prove/disprove with an experiment/data analysis and conclustion. I then gave them a Listerine Melt in Your Mouth sheet, it curled in their hand just like the Fish but had a different reason...they had to go through the scientific process again to determine why it was different than the Fish. Great intro to science!
Laurie Burrell

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fishy Method
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 24, 2012
The "Fortune Telling Fish" is the perfect start to the school year and teaching the Scientific Method to my students. We start with the question "Why does the fish move?" Students brainstorm and predict a list of possible causes fo the movement. Lab groups are then given a fish and after exploring with placing the fish on a variety of surfaces discuss their observations. Students in each group must come to a consensus as to why the fish curls or moves and design an investigation to prove their hypothesis. After completing their investigations groups present their findings to the class.
Betty Bigney

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Magic fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 23, 2012
I first saw this at NSTA conference and took my fish back to school. I teach high school chemistry and biology and had my chemistry students try to explain what was happening. From there, I had another biology teacher try to explain what was happening. None of them were able to to explain. I am going to indroduce this to my biology class when I teach polarity. A fantastic hands-on demonstration.
Lynn Isbell

Was this review helpful?

0   0

7th/8th Grade Science
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 21, 2012
I love using the Fortune Fish during my Scientific Method/Inquiry lessons. They are a great tool and easy to use. They are affordable therefore each student can actually keep them and take home to show the lesson they learned in Science Class that week. Great buy!
J. McLain

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Telling Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 19, 2012
Best product (and inexpensive too) to allow my students practical application of the experimental design process (sc method)! Safety, inquiry skills and application of tools needed to complete the process are also enhanced by using this little fishy. Material science applications can also be introduced!
Teresa Nichols

Was this review helpful?

0   0

The Case of the Freaky Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
I use these every year for my students' introduction to inquiry procedures in 7th grade. They LOVE these, and the price is right!
Kim Weber

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Great Science Night Idea
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
We had a station at our Literacy/Math/Science night for the Fortune Fish. Our students loved them!
Ann Robichaux

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Scientific Method Primer
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
Great activity to get students thinking and trying to solve a problems. Lots of fun and sets the tone with a hands on activity that leads to more questions.
Jeanie Shannon

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Fortune Fish
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
The fish are fun and inexpensive they made a great end of school science gift for my students
Robin Parkinson

Was this review helpful?

0   0

Teacher
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon May 16, 2012
This is a great, cheap activity for any grade level. Having the kids try to explain how this works is a good way to practice scientific method without spending a lot of money.
Barbara Bridge

Was this review helpful?

0   0

NGSS

This product will support your students' understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, as shown in the table below.

Elementary Middle School High School

4-PS3-1

Students can use Fortune Fish as evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.

4-PS3-2

Students can use Fortune Fish to make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by heat.

4-PS3-4

Students can use Fortune Fish to apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that convert energy from one form to another.

MS-PS3-1
MS-PS3-3

Students can use Fortune Fish to apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy.

MS-PS3-4

Students can use Fortune Fish to plan an investigation to determine that the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.

HS-PS3-3

Students can use Fortune Fish to design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.

Suggested Science Idea(s)

4-PS3-1
4-PS3-2
4-PS3-3
4-PS3-4
MS-PS3-1
MS-PS3-3
MS-PS3-4
HS-PS3-3

Students can use the Fortune Fish in a number of different investigations of kinetic and thermal energy. Although all Fortune Fish have shared physical properties, due to the unique elasticity of each fish and the varying temperatures of students' hands, energy transfer can be explored in a new manner.

 

* NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.

Q & A