Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Protect our Oceans!

Sigh. I've been anticipating this lesson with mixed emotions. I've been talking to the class about the environmental disaster that has become our oceans and how fish and other wildlife are affected by human behaviour.
Prime example:
"A dead gray whale washed ashore on West Seattle's Arroyo Beach last week. In itself, that is not an inherently unusual occurrence: five to ten gray whales die annually in Puget Sound waters, unable to complete the lengthy migration from the lagoons of Baja California, where they breed, to their summer feeding waters north of Alaska. Indeed, that whale was the fourth discovered in the region in a little over a week.

What was especially interesting about this particular whale, however, was its stomach contents. According to a postmortem examination by Cascadia Research:

The animal had more than 50 gallons of largely undigested stomach contents consisting mostly of algae but also a surprising amount of human debris including more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball." (full article here)

In browsing some of the eco-friendly lesson plans in the dungeon at the school, I found a cool image of a sort of collage, depicting a fish eating garbage. PERFECT! I thought - high interest, relevant, socially-conscious art, that fits with my theme and will be displayed for Earth Day! And thus I began...

I started by making some oily water with the kids, using my favourite shaving-cream marbling technique on finger-paint paper. This they cut out to make the waves.

Then they painted fish *with open mouths!!

Finally, they glued everything on, and did a great collage of words (I thought representing the rhetoric?! and then bits of "garbage"- I tried to get them to focus on plastics).

Love how this worked, and how we used some recycled material to make it!

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