I love gyotaku, Japanese fish printing.
When I taught in NJ, I used a real fish. For the entire grade level. All week long. Take a minute and let that sink in. One fish. A hundred kids.
Never. Again. *gag*
Thankfully, now there are rubber molds! They don't smell terrible or lose their scales in the printing process. Yay!
In Texas, our 3rd graders spend the end of the year focusing on Biomes, so this is a great way to integrate Science and Art. Couldn't be easier. I had the kids tell me what they know about underwater environments, and they created a sketch of their favorite (aquarium, ocean, stream, etc). Once they had their plan, they painted their background using watercolor.
The following week, I had the printing stations set up and they printed in small groups. It is very important to use slip sheets to ensure a clean printing surface. That is actually what I did while the kids were applying their paint (acrylic): check the coverage and change the slip sheets.
Once they were dry, they added the final details: bubbles, extra seaweed or grass (great way to cover mistakes) and I demoed how to paint fish eyeballs. The added highlight really makes a huge difference.
|it's a little blurry but I think you can see it--|
Needless to say, the kids LOVED this project, the classroom teachers LOVED them (and used them to decorate the "Water Biome" room for Biome Day!) and these look awesome mounted and framed.