First I have my younger students trace a simple fish template, however my older students usually feel more confident so I have them hand draw out a fish shape. Then they draw an eye and lips if they would like to. Also, students are to draw a "fin" in the corner using any kind of line they would like...straight, curving, wiggly, etc.
Then the fun part... adding patterns. Students draw patterns using markers and/or crayons to fill their entire fish.
The next class we first finish our patterns and make sure we don't forget to color our fin in the corner too! Students then cut out the fish and the fin. I help the younger ones with this next step.
Students cut a curving line into the fish body to create a "gill". We need it to curve away from the mouth.
Then take the front half of the cut body and slide it over the back to overlap. This "pops" out the body. I will staple for the younger kids, however older ones can glue with a dot. Then the fin receives a dot of glue and is slid into this Popped gill to dry.
Lastly students glue the fish onto a piece of 9 x 12" construction paper in whatever color they would like. We just put a dot of glue on the dorsal fin, mouth, and tail. No need for it anywhere else. They can use crayons and markers to create an environment around their fish. As you can see my students can come up with some really awesome patterns. These examples are created by 3rd grade students.
I love this project. Simple 3-d and my students are always so proud of their works. Because of storage space, students nearly always take this project home on the second week after completion. This was a fun way to begin our break.
This project took 2 forty minute classes to complete. Our materials were the following:
1. 9 x 12" white drawing paper
2. 9 x 12" color construction paper
7. Pencils and erasers
8. Templates (if you so choose to)