Exploring the oceans with Fischer Mk2

Help children learn as they play by sharing a story and building on it with a fun activity  

Here's the Fischer Mk2 Aquatic Exploration Pod, a friendly little submarine designed and built by graphic artist Daniel Weatheritt. The Fischer Mk2 is the star of Daniel's latest junk modelling project for children and you'll find a link to download instructions on how to make it later in this blog 

Daniel Weatheritt enjoys building beautiful and surprising objects from the most ordinary things, and his studio is a treasure-trove of mechanical oddments and found objects just waiting to be re-purposed. For this project, Daniel used readily-available household materials including a margarine tub and a plastic water bottle together with basic crafting materials like paint and glue, so that families in Lockdown would be able to make their own models and share some imaginary underwater fun. 

Detailed, step-by-step photo instructions for making the Fischer Mk2 are available on Daniel's website: we've included a link below.

If you know someone who'd enjoy these resources, please pass them on - it would be great to reach as many families as possible. And once you've built your Fischer Mk2, why not send us a photo or tell us about your underwater adventures? We'd love to hear from you!
The Fischer Mk2 resource pack is free to download and includes games and learning activities, plus a great selection of books to help you make the most of your modelmaking adventures
Contact us at Cast of Thousands here 

Click here to download your free Fischer Mk2 pdf resource pack

You can also view the resource pack by clicking on Creative Workshops at danielweatheritt.com here Find out about oceans and explore imaginary underwater worlds with Daniel Weatheritt's model submarine - the Fischer Mk2

Dip into our super-special underwater book collection

Super Submarines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker, published by Kingfisher

Suggested age range 4-7

Watch as the crew takes a brightly-coloured sub through its underwater manoeuvres! Technical vocabulary in the rhyming text will intrigue budding engineers, and the friendly illustrations are full of helpful details. 

Which special words tell you about submarines and how they operate? Propeller, rudder, periscope, salvage, ballast, dock…
Can you use them to explain what your Fischer Mk2 does and how it works?

Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts and Hannah Peck, published by Scholastic

Suggested age range 3-6

The whale thinks Stanley’s a jellyfish and will make a tasty snack. But Stanley has handles, not tentacles…. what a BIG mistake! This lively picturebook about an ocean-going plastic bag will make you think as well as laugh. 

Invent more rubbish-creatures to swim with Stanley. How will your Fischer Mk2 rescue them? 
What could you do to help ocean wildlife? 

The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer, published by Thames and Hudso
Suggested age range

Cheerful, chatty and full of amazing facts about the sea, this picturebook takes a welcoming approach to non-fiction and the double-spread illustrations are stunning.  

Write and illustrate a new spread about your Fischer Mk2 and add it to the book...


If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen, published by Puffin

Suggested age range 4-10

Meet Jack, a boy who designs and constructs a truly amazing car. Inspired by futuristic mid-century American artwork, this action-packed picturebook has a rhyming text and lots to enjoy on every page. 

If you added new features, what could your Fischer Mk2 do?  Draw your ideas!


The Octonauts Explore the Great Big Ocean by Meomi, published by HarperCollins
Suggested age range

The much-loved heroes of the animated TV series are researching underwater habitats. Will they be able to help the Vegimals  in a quest to discover their true home? 

What will the Octonauts do when they meet your Fischer Mk2? Tell the story of what happens – or act it out!

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and Eric Puybaret, published by Chronicle Books

Suggested age range 5-10

This fascinating picturebook tells the real-life story of world-famous diver and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. 

Cousteau had to design his own diving equipment because what he wanted didn’t exist. Can you design a new piece of equipment for your Fischer Mk2? What will your crew do with it? 


Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey, published by RandomHouse  
Suggested age range

Traction Man and his trusty sidekick Scrubbing Brush battle the forces of evil in a series of household adventures - including a kitchen-sink mission to discover the Lost Wreck of the Sieve! This absorbing (and very funny) exploration of the power of imaginative play will inspire lots of storymaking.

Add some household objects to a story about your Fischer Mk2. How will you use them? What will they become?


Flotsam by David Wiesner, published by Andersen Press

Suggested age range 5-10

This wordless picturebook tells the story of an old-fashioned camera as it travels through the oceans, capturing photos of strange new creatures and deep-sea magic.

What amazing sights will you see from the dome of your Fischer Mk2? Draw the pictures and tell the stories. Then film yourself presenting a TV show about your discoveries!


A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton, published by Walker Books  
Suggested age range

This beautiful anthology includes sea-themed poetry together with information about the world’s oceans, the people who explore them and the creatures that live beneath the waves.

Can you find another poem about the sea and illustrate it? Or write your own...


Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins, published by Walker Books                                                 
Suggested age range 2-5

Go for a swim with Little Fish and his mum and say hello to all his brightly-coloured friends. Lucy Cousins’ cheerful artwork is complemented by a rhyming text with plenty of child-appeal.

Why not paint some Lucy Cousins-style fish and hang them using thread so they look as though they’re swimming? Then take your Fischer Mk2 on a dive to meet them...

Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang and Jordi Solano, published by Albert Whitman and CompanySuggested age range 6-10

This beautifully-illustrated picturebook biography tells the story of Eugenie Clark, who forged an independent path in pursuit of her dream - discovering as much as she could about sharks and changing public perceptions of these fascinating creatures.

Imagine you're famous shark scientist. What will you tell your Fischer Mk2 crew about the sharks they'll encounter on their next mission?

If you would like to buy any of these books, please visit the Cast of Thousands bookshop at uk.bookshop.org

You'll find these titles on our Exploring the Oceans with Fischer Mk 2 booklist, to view it click HERE 

Cast of Thousands receives a small commission on every purchase, helping us stay independent and freely accessible for everyone.

Four ways to extend children's learning with our Fischer Mk2-inspired activities

Make a secret submarine hideout for your Fischer Mk2

Cut ribbons from green and blue paper or cloth. Using blutak or sticky tape, attach to the edge of a table so the ribbons form a sea-curtain around your secret hideout. Draw fish and other ocean creatures and attach them to the underside of the table.

Snuggle on cushions in your ocean den and read stories to your toys – or enlist them as crew while you pilot your imaginary Fischer Mk2 on a special underwater mission!  


Direct a photoshoot starring your Fischer Mk2

Turn an old shoebox into an underwater diorama (like a mini 3D stage set) using card, paint and other materials.* 

Add wax-resist details using crayons or candle stubs before washing with blue paint, or print green seaweed-designs onto a dry background using carefully-cut potato or card shapes. 

Once your diorama is ready, add your Fischer Mk2 and photograph it. Use an adjustable table lamp or torch to create lighting effects! 

*pebbles, sponges, fabric, pipecleaners, shells, green scourers, eggboxes, magazine clippings… whatever you have available!

From the Fischer Mk2 downloadable resource pack: making scenery and props for your underwater photoshoot

Use your senses to explore the Fischer Mk2’s watery world

Wiggle your fingers in a bowl of water to make ripples and waves. What does it feel like? What can you see? Close your eyes and try again, then blow some bubbles. What can you hear?

Use your voice and household objects to make sound effects for sea and wind. Add other noises to your ocean soundscape - seabirds? mermaids? And what about a great big storm?  

Stir salt into a glass of water and watch it dissolve. How much can you add before it stops dissolving? Put a tiny drop of the salty water on your tongue. What does it taste like? Blind-taste different snacks to pick out those that are salty, like the sea.

Make water-wands using ribbon-strips of sea-coloured fabric or paper attached to straws (or newspaper sheets rolled into sticks.) Wave them as you listen to music, then let your wand lead you into an ocean dance. Cast some secret sea-spells as you go!

From the Fischer Mk2 downloadable resource pack: mapping your expeditions and designing new features

Design new features for your Fischer Mk2 and map its expeditions

Draw a labelled diagram of your Fischer Mk2. Invent some extra features – wings? an ejector seat? - and add them to your diagram. Could you draw a cross-section?

Draw maps to record your underwater missions. Add notes recording what you did and what you discovered.



Find out more about Daniel Weatheritt via his website here

Watch episodes of The Octonauts CBBC animated series here 

To see a fabulous cutaway cross-section of an imaginary submarine from The Treasure of Captain Claw by Jonathan Emmett and Steve Cox, published by Orchard, click here

For an animated version of Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins, published by Walker Books, click here

For a downloadable Traction Man paper doll and outfits, visit Mini Grey's website here

To watch author and eco-expert Sarah Roberts talking about plastic pollution and her picturebook Somebody Swallowed Stanley, click here  

Meet the team behind the Fischer Mk2 Resource Pack
The brave little Fischer Mk2 heads off into the unknown!


Copyright: Cast of Thousands 2024 All rights reserved.
This article/information may be printed freely for use in schools and other learning settings but may not be reproduced in any other format without the permission of Cast of Thousands

All Dressed Up

Thu 04 Mar 2021



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