Draw a Manatee
marine mammals that sometimes are called "sea cows". The name
fits somewhat, as they are generally slow moving, gentle giants. Get a
feel for their shape, size and design with your own manatee art.
Cow with calf
A 10 foot long, 1000 pound adult manatee is almost the same length and
weight as some of today's very small cars (although quite a different
shape). Whether you see one from land, a boat, or when swimming next to
one, you can't help but be amazed at their size. How could you draw something
this huge? The directions below carry some clues to help you.
aloud the clues below. Ask students to listen carefully and draw a manatee
as described by the clues. Repeat the clues as you allow drawing time
for each feature described. (Or you may wish to print the clues and let
students read clues for themselves.) Display finished drawings to reinforce
the uniqueness of each manatee.
7 to 10 feet long, manatees have large, gray seal-like bodies, which
taper or narrow at both ends.
- The manatee's
head is smaller in diameter than the body is near the front, but it
is still quite broad. Some might say the head is like the head of a
really large St. Bernard dog, or maybe a walrus? It has gray, wrinkly
skin instead of fur.
- The skin
on the head is loose, and has facial jowls the hang down.
- The lower
lip is set back from the top lip. No ears are visible.
of a nose, the manatee's face forms a blunt snout--almost like an elephant
without a truck (manatees actually are related to the elephant). The
snout has two nostrils at the front.
- The head
has two small eyes that are somewhat widely spaced. Because the snout
is narrow than the head, the nostrils are spaced more narrowly than
body has two forelimbs or "flippers" about a foot or two behind
the head. In length, the flippers are about 1/6 as long the body. The
flippers have cuticles or nails near the tip.
- The body
has a very broad, paddle shaped tail--just in front of the tail, l the
body narrows or tapers, before the tail starts, and then the tail gets
- Have a
group of student volunteers use chalk to draw an actual size manatee
on the blacktop of the playground.
- When students
translate the clues into a drawing, they're sure to think of questions
about anatomy and adaptations.
Have them list their questions in a journal or on a chart and record
answers as they find them through research.
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