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Level: Middle School
Grades: 6-8 | Age: 11-14yrs | Written by: Alison J. Lorion
[Alison is an Art Teacher in a Special Needs School (Dr. Franklin Perkins School) in Lancaster, Massachusetts]

Students will make paper aquarium sculptures.


Students will:

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Collect and set up all materials and supplies before class along with samples and examples.
  2. Discuss different underwater creatures: real and fantasy.
  3. Have students discuss different colors and patterns of these creatures.
  4. Have students make preliminary sketches before choosing and constructing own creature.
  5. Have students begin constructing when they have completed their own drawings.
  6. Demonstrate how to fold, crunch, and twist the newspaper tightly. Remind students not to use a huge amount of tape because the paper mache will have a hard time drying and sticking to the tape. Ask students if they have any questions.
  7. Circulate to assist students needing help.
  8. Have students begin adding paper mache when the creature has been completely formed with newspaper and cardboard. Have students completely cover constructed creature with mache by dipping small ripped newspaper pieces in the mache letting extra drip off into the container first and then laying flat and smooth on to project. Cover with at least 2 coats letting it dry before painting.
  9. Students may draw on design for painting.
  10. Begin painting creature let each coat dry in between or for putting colors next to each other.
  11. Coat with Envirotex Lite after school in a well ventilated area. (Teacher or other Adult only). A spray or brush-on water-based varnish may be used in place of Envirotex-lite.
  12. Display and discuss the process compare to preliminary sketches.
  13. Have students collaborate and design how to exhibit either in a glass case if available or build a large scale case with either Plexiglas or clear acrylic paper. 2 x 4's, hammer, and nails, with a plywood bottom. Complete with beach sand, shells, and dried starfish. Attach dowels on top and hang creatures with fishing line.(see image)


Recommended Books/Products:

Eyewitness: Fish
by Steve Parker, Dave King, Colin Keates
Discover the amazing world of fishes - how they evolved, how they live and their weird and wonderful habits.

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