Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recycled Reef Fish

Upcycling old plastic bottles and containers into a recycled reef is a fun way for students to learn about cleaning up the oceans and protecting the earth.  Have students bring in lots of plastic bottles and encourage different shapes and thicknesses of plastic. Rinse out the insides and peel off labels first.  Then from your collection of bottles have students choose one that they will use for the body of their fish.  The water bottle in this photo works well for a small shark, but a large laundry soap bottle might work better for a puffer fish.  Have students plan out where eyes, mouths, fins and tails might go on their bottle.

Next students used flat plastic pieces to cut out their fish parts.  Scissors will work well for most of the work but you may want to have a few utility knives or x-acto knives on hand for adult use too.  As they worked on the details, I worked with each student to attach on the fins and tails.  Make a slice with a utility knife into the body of the fish and slide in the fin, they will stay pretty well if the cut isn't to large, but I also reinforced the attachment with a little hot glue.  Next, I let students choose what color they wanted their fish and I spray painted each bottle completely.  Once the main spray painted color dried, I gave students a plethora of different colored sharpie markers  to color in different parts of the fish, making scales, faces, details etc. HINT: Most plastics don't take paint well, but if you want to avoid the spray painting aspect of this project:  build your fish as described and then cover them in a layer of paper mache and then let students use acrylic paints to decorate their fish.

To display our reef, I hole punched a hole in the top fin of each of our fish and attached a string to hang them.  If you set them up at different levels they will look like they are swimming!

!!! B CR8IV!!!

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