Sharks have existed for about 400 million years, before dinosaurs roamed the earth! They belong to a class of fish called Chondrichthyes. Chrondrichthyes means “cartilaginous fishes”. The skeletons of sharks and other Chondrichthyans are made of cartilage unlike human skeletons that are made of bone. Although all sharks have some similarities such as having gills and fins, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. They also live in many different habitats and in different parts of the world.


There are 8 shark species profiles included in this activity with information on size, color, diet, and habitat of each shark. Focus is on sharks that live in waters off the Florida coast although sharks from other parts of the world are also included:

1. Bull shark

2. White shark

3. Tiger shark

4. Great hammerhead shark

5. Shortfin mako shark

6. Thresher shark

7. Whale shark

8. Leopard shark

In addition, there are also species profiles on closely related rays, skates, and sawfish that may also be included in classroom learning activities:

1. Atlantic stingray

2. Clearnose skate

3. Smalltooth sawfish

Information on size, color, diet, habitat, and geographical location is included in each species profile as well as a photo and a distribution map.

Classroom Activities:

Graph the maximum length of each species to determine which species is the largest and which is the smallest and how they compare to the size of humans.