A unit on coral reefs is common in elementary school, so why not make a coral reef mural part of the lesson. All you need is a copy of The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book by Kauai author, Monika Mira and a bunch of willing hands (literally). Every fish you could possibly need is in the book.
You will want to prep the wall where you will put your mural the day before you begin this unit. You can do this by covering a large space with blue butcher paper.
To start the unit, open the book to the section on fishes and describe one of the fish by reading the text, which includes its common, scientific and Hawaiian name. Ask your students, “who wants to color in this fish?” Tear it out of the book and repeat with the next fish until all of your students have a fish. During the process, your students will learn about many different fish on the reef.
Allow the students to color in the fish however they like. Let the creativity flow. They do no need to color the fish exactly how it appears in nature unless they wish to do so. Once all the fish are colored in, have your students cut them out. Then set them aside.
Set out some construction paper and have your students trace their hands and cut them out. While you are doing this, you can describe what a coral is, and how coral reefs are built. Don’t worry, all this information is included in the beginning sections of The Complete Hawaiian Reef Fish Coloring Book. Pass around a piece of coral if you have one.
It is now time to build the reef. Glue the hands, fingers pointing up on the bottom of the butcher paper. Overlapping hands look really nice. This is your coral reef. Now, it is time to glue the fish onto your reef.