* The exotic appearance of creatures under the ocean has been a source of stimulation for artists and writers throughout the ages. To introduce an undersea environment project, read pupils 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and show Japanese art by Kuniyoshi ("Tametomo's Shipwreck", 1836) and Kyosai ("Amid Monsters", 1864), where warriors do battle with fantastic creatures from the deep. Start practical work by giving each pupil a prawn in its shell, drawing in detail using a magnifying glass; pupils then massively enlarge these drawings interpreting them as sea monsters. Introduce pupils to octopi by using the main illustration as a source to develop pupils' knowledge of the visual elements, by exploring patterns with circles, and soft colour effects.
* The inset illustration of the octopus on a rock captures its extraordinary pneumatic and flexible body. Produce a large-scale octopus as a group project. Some can make the central body section using a ball of newspaper covered with plaster-impregnated bandage (Mod-roc), a controllable method of using plaster of Paris. Others can make flexible arms - fatter ones from stockings stuffed with fabric, and thinner, more flexible ones by rolling newspaper in tight tubes and painting them in bright acrylic colours. Using the inset picture for reference, add the suckers by making them from bottle tops and lids covered in fabric. The bulging eyes can be made from two surplus lightweight plastic balls. The octopus can be very large and can be hung from the ceiling or attached to windows by using clothes hooks with rubber suckers (from your local DIY centre). Make other sea creatures, one of which can struggle in the tentacles of the octopus for dramatic effect, and cover the whole tableau in transparent green and blue film.