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Do you have a class pet that needs constant care, feeding, and attention? Well, if you’re tired of having the pet responsibility in your classroom, but you want your students to feel like they have their own “pet,” you can help them make their own fish tanks that they can take home! (Don’t worry… no fish will be harmed in the making of this craft!)
Materials: (per child)
– One 2-liter clear soda bottle
– Enough fish tank rocks to fill the bottom of the bottle
– A foot of fishing line
– A small fishing sinker
– Styrofoam tray from your grocer’s local meat packaging facility
– Blue food coloring
- Cut the shape of a fish from the foam tray. The fist has to be small enough to fit through the top of the 2 liter bottle.
- Allow your students to draw on their fish with permanent markers.
- Attach the fishing line to the fish by piercing a small hole in the fish and tying a knot. Make sure that your line between the sinker and the fish is no longer than the soda bottle.
- Attach the fishing sinker to the other end of the fishing wire by tying another knot.
- Fill the bottom of the soda bottle with fish tank rocks.
- Drop your foam fish into the bottle, sinker side first.
- Fill the bottle with water and add blue food coloring.
- Use hot glue to secure the lid onto the top of the soda bottle.
Once you have done the above steps, your little fish should float to the top of the bottle. The blue food coloring will make it appear that your fish always has clean, sparkling water! To adapt this project on a smaller scale, you can use smaller soda bottles so that they are more manageable for smaller children.
And, now is the perfect time to introduce a fun writing project! Here are a couple “fishy” ideas to get you started:
- Descriptive Writing: Write a paragraph introducing your fish. Include all the “vitals”: name, age, description, likes/dislikes, family, background/history, place of origin, etc.
- Fiction/Creative Writing: Write the story of how your fish came to live in your bottle. Where was he born? How did she get into the bottle? What does he like about the bottle? Dislike? What does he like to do all day?
- Nonfiction Writing: Research freshwater fish, saltwater fish, fish habitats, etc. What did you learn from your research? Include 3-5 facts about fish.
- Expository Writing: How to catch a fish. Research the steps to fishing, from finding bait to reeling ’em in. Write the steps as a “How To Catch A Fish” guidebook for beginner fishermen.
And here’s an idea for a super unique (and educational) classroom pet: A Worm Farm!
Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia and a sharer of many great classroom ideas!