This is probably the best lesson I've ever used on basic watercolor techniques. Most students get out the paints and work close in, with teeny, tiny brush strokes. This lesson teaches them color wash and blends for large areas.
(I love watercolor paint. Messy looking but no waste. You can't get any better than that!)
Then comes the fun! Up to this point, I haven't mentioned what the final project will look like. They just think they are painting.
Once I pull out the black paper and we start talking about the milky way, and stars, they sort of see a space project. It isn't til I hold up the painted paper to the light that they can see the colors in their circles! That's when the OOOHs start!
As a closure project we form into table groups and write a story called "An Alien Ate My Homework" a collaborative effort between the students that usually gets a little loud, but very silly. I save a few minutes at the end of the final class for those groups who wish to read the stories out loud to the class.