I showed them a few live cam websites on Manatees, they were like.."Whoa! Those are some ugly fish!" I even played some of their sounds they make. We also talked about what they ate, how they were mammals...the babies drink milk from their mom's arm pit! They all grossed out over that fact. We talked about other animals that live in the ocean with them. We also talked about how they were an endangered species. They all agreed they didn't want the manatee to disappear from our oceans.
We did a guided drawing of the ocean, a boat (if they wanted one), the bottom of the ocean, some sea coral, sea weed, and grasses. I passed out some print outs of manatees for reference and had them draw one or more of them in the middle of their paper. After they were done they had to draw four or more other animals that can be found in the ocean with them.
Since this was wax resist they drew over their pencil lines with crayons, pressing down hard and not coloring.
Then I introduced the watercolors. We talked about how to treat the brushes, how to clean them between colors, and how to use water in order to make the paint work. Then I released them to paint to their hearts content! Here are some examples of their beautiful works of art.
FYI you will run out of blue. Just warning you now!