Skin, Scales, & Spines

Skin, Scales, & Spines lesson plan

Take a deep, deep look at creatures of the deep, deep sea! Create a 3-D model of an amazing ocean creature, inside and out.

  • 1.

    What kinds of creatures live at each zone of the sea as it gets deeper and deeper? How do creatures at the deeper levels adapt to the unique underwater conditions? Which creature captures your imagination? Find out more about it. Where does it fit into the undersea food chain? How does the underwater environment affect its lifestyle? Find pictures of the creature and diagrams of its internal body structure. If you like, work with a partner.

  • 2.

    Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to outline the creature's body shape on cotton or 50/50 cotton/polyester fabric. With Crayola Scissors, cut around the shape, leaving a wide border around the outline. Trace the shape and cut it out so you have two identical pieces.

  • 3.

    Place the fabric pieces on newspaper topped with white paper so that the pieces are mirror images. On one piece, use Crayola Fabric Markers to draw the creature as it appears on the outside--scales, skin, spines, or whatever is characteristic of your creature. On the other piece, draw the creature’s internal structure.

  • 4.

    Run a line of Crayola School Glue around the edge of one piece of fabric, leaving a space about as wide as your hand without glue. Turn the other piece over and place it on top of the glued piece so the edges meet. Your designs will be inside. Air-dry the glue overnight.

  • 5.

    Cut off any extra parts of the border. At the curves, make snips almost up to the glue. Turn the fish inside out so your designs show. Stuff the inside of the creature. Glue the opening closed. Air-dry before telling your classmates about your choice of u


  • Students research information about deep-sea creatures: what kinds live at different levels, how they adapt for survival, and their appearance and body structures.
  • Students create fabric models of sea creatures, reproducing both the outer appearance and inner body structure.
  • Students describe their creatures’ anatomy, habitat, and adaptations for survival to each other.


  • Deep Sea Diving Memory Game: Work with classmates in pairs to create two of several different kinds of sea creatures. Display them in a deep-sea classroom exhibit. Learn about each creature to prepare for a Deep Sea Diving Memory Game. Place each creature
  • Assessment: In the oral presentation, look for completeness and accuracy of information as well as details on the stuffed creature. Individually, invite students to share one piece of writing from their research. Listen to their reading, record the strate