I knew I wanted to my students to have some options so I thought about how to keep the materials (PAINT) slightly limited so that I could focus my instruction. For seatwork, everyone practiced drawing an Orca. For the project, students could choose between an orca and a harbor seal. The first day was all about drawing, and then painting with black paint.
Since we are landlocked by at least a 1,000 miles, my students don't have a lot of experience with marine animals. Students watched a video about Harbor Seals. http://www.blubberblog.org/index.html
**Please don't use this guide as a definitive 'how to draw a killer whale guide'....this one was hastily drawn on my whiteboard, and several students pointed out the inconsistencies with some of the body parts from step to step. But I erased it after two days so...eh.....Just google 'how to draw killer whales' for tons of great sources. I did not have a ton of photos for them to work from so I went with this method and it worked well.
I was inspired by the MaryMaking Blog: Breaching Orcas for the killer whale option.
I don't have any pictures of the painting process. It was WAY too wild to have my camera out! ;-)
Their favorite part of this day was the final step, when I SPRAYED watered down white paint on the wet painting to look like ocean spray. They pointed, I sprayed.