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Aquarium Acrobats

What's swimming in front of your eyes? Are those swaying anemones plants or animals? Fill an imaginary aquarium with underwater acrobats!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Have students observe an aquarium, either in the classroom or on a visit to a local aquarium or pet store. Students research which underwater creatures can live together, and which must be kept separate. Find out how live plants contribute to aquarium life. How are salt-water and fresh-water creatures cared for?
    2. Students create a realistic aquarium scene using a recycled shoe box.
    3. Students cut two matching holes in the top middle sides of the box. Insert a dowel stick into the holes and hang the Aquarium Acrobats from the stick.
    4. On the inside and back of the aquarium, use Crayola Crayons to draw ocean creatures and plant life. Press hard to make a heavy layer of wax.
    5. Students cover their art area with newspaper. Paint the outside of your aquarium with Crayola Washable Kid's Paint. Inside the box, finish painting the underwater scene with fish, coral reefs, plants, and water. When painting over the crayon, it will resist the paint. The fish and plants will look like they are in water. Dry.
    6. Students use Crayola crayons and Crayola Washable Markers to design more fish and sea creatures on white paper. Cut them out. Design the backs of the cutouts so that when they do their acrobat tricks they will be colorful. Punch a hole in the top of each one. Tie string through holes and to the dowel stick so the Aquarium Acrobats can swim.
    7. Spread Crayola School Glue on the bottom of the box. Cover with aquarium gravel or sandpaper while the glue is wet. Add seashells or other craft items to the aquarium if desired.
    8. Glue blue or clear plastic wrap across the open areas to look like glass in an aquarium. Wiggle and twist the dowel stick to see the Aquarium Acrobats in motion.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

    LA: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Identify examples of laws and policies that govern scientific and technological applications, such as the Endangered Species Act and environmental protection policies.

    VA: Use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

    VA: Know how the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students select one land and one marine species to compare and contrast. Research can focus on topics such as the environments each species lives in, characteristics of each, what each feeds on, how each adapts for survival, etc. Students can use Crayola Model Magic to create examples of each species and use these during class or small group presentations. A written summary of research should accompany presentations for classroom display.

    Students create a unique, imaginary sea creature. Crayola Model Magic, water color paints, colored pencils, crayons, and/or pastels can be used to illustrate the imaginary creature. Students write a summary focused on these creatures including what it looks like, how it survives, adaptations it can make to changes in environments, etc. Students can present their unique creatures to the class or small group.

    Many sea creatures have been placed on the endangered species list. Students can research one of these marine species, documenting the environment found, adaptations made as environments changed, and why it was placed on the endangered species list. Last, students should include an investigation into what steps humans have taken to protect the species from extinction. Students can create a model of the species to accompany the presentation of their research.

    Many sea creatures have become extinct and for various reasons. Students research and analyze causes that led to the species eventual extinction as well as any steps that humans may have taken in an attempt to save the species. What additional steps might have helped to protect and save the species? What effect on the environment has taken place due to this species becoming extinct? Students can crate a model of the species to accompany the presentation of their research.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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