Sensational Sharks & Rays

Shark jawWould you believe that sting rays and sharks were on Earth at the same time as dinosaurs? It’s true! Scientists have found fossilized shark teeth dating back nearly 400 million years. Thanks to other finds like shark braincases (kind of like a skull), we know these creatures existed long before us.

Try some fishy fun here as you follow along with photos to make an origami sting ray. Then, test your shark smarts with a Shark Search and make a clothespin shark. You can also find these activities and a shark-tooth snack in Kids Alive, found on pages 10 and 11 of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s April 2014 Alive member magazine.


Clothespin Shark

Use a clothespin to make a pocket-size predator of the sea! Find the directions here.


Shark Search

Use your shark smarts to find all of the species of sharks here. Circle words that are shark species and cross out words that are not. Be careful—some answers might surprise you! Find them here.


Origami Sting Ray

Make this deep-sea dweller using the Japanese art of origami, or paper folding. Then, bring your paper ray to visit real sting rays at the Zoo’s special summer exhibit! Use the photos next to the directions to guide your folds. 

You will need:

  • Origami paper, or a square piece of paper
  • Marker or crayon (any color you like)


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger photos and scroll through the steps.

  1. Step 1

    Make three folds in your paper as shown in photo 1.

  2. Step 2

    Color one side with a marker or crayon. Follow the remaining steps with the color side down.

  3. Step 3

    Make two additional folds on either side of the middle fold, as shown.

  4. Step 4

    Now fold the smaller end up toward the pointed end.

  5. Step 5

    Next fold the smaller end back toward you.

  6. Step 6a

    Make a small fold on the outside of the tail, making it narrower.

  7. Step 6b

    The corner (see arrow) will come down when you fold these parts. Repeat on the opposite side.

  8. Step 7

    Now fold in the bottom edges of the tail so that it becomes narrower.

  9. Step 8

    Make one fold through the middle of the entire sting ray.

  10. Step 9

    Flip the ray over. The body of the ray will spring open to make a triangle. Now make two bends in the tail (see arrows).

  11. Step 10

    Draw on some eyes and you're done!

Activities by Dana Christen

Origami sting ray photos by Alex Zurek
Other photos by Richard Brodzeller
Clothespin shark and word search graphics by the Zoological Society Creative Department

*Only Zoological Society of Milwaukee members can access the current Alive magazine. Past issues of Alive can be accessed by the general public in our publication archive.