For our first project involving the color wheel, my fifth graders are making Mandalas. We begin the lesson with a great discussion on their origin and talk a lot about symmetry and radial design. Students should be familiar with basic symmetry so talking about the concept of a symmetry that rotates around a center point usually comes easily. I use lots of examples of Mandalas in my presentation and definite talk about how with large scale Mandalas, they are made with sand and brushed away to remind us of life’s temporary qualities.
From there, using a circle template, students trace the circle and cut it out. Because this happens the same day as the discussion, there is only time left to fold the Mandala. First have them fold it in half, then a fourth, then an eighth. I had students unfold their Mandala and then re-crease each pie slice individually so they were more defined which helps on day two a lot.
After they fold it and re-crease it, some students choose to fold it again and trim the curve so it is more of a perfect circle. This is optional, as many students get stressed by this action.
This ended my Day 1 (40 minute classes).
Day 2 has been my favorite so far but I am sure that will change. Students come to class and refresh my memory on Mandalas. I find this most valuable because it holds their learning accountable. Once they remind me of where Mandalas come from and what they represent, we move on to the transfer.
They gather around my demo table and I first show them that they will make a line design in one pie slice. They can have a minimum of 6 lines but get more complicated if they want. Encourage them to have their lines go from one side of the pie slice to the other because the transfer will work better. And to press hard with the pencil! I have students use soft drawing pencils because the lead is loose and therefor transfers better.
Once students have done their first design. Have them fold that pie slice over onto it’s face and onto the section directly beside this. I know this is hard to describe but some of the upcoming images will help. Have students use the back side of something (I had them use the handles of my plastic scissors) and rub the two sides (the design and the blank side) together very hard. Once they are done rubbing, they can open their Mandala up and they will see their design lightly transferred over. Have the students retrace this side and then repeat the transfer process.
This was so rewarding! Students loved that their design was easily transferred over to each pie slice. As I had explained to students, this process was more time consuming but overall, made the project look much neater because you had a template to work from. Instead of redrawing the same designing and hoping it all lines up!
Next time – we finish our design transfers and begin to fill in each pie slice with different shades of the color wheel. Stay tuned!