This 7th grade project is a favorite, both of mine and the students! 7th grade studies Southeast Asia in Social Studies, so these mandalas are a nice cross-curricular connection and a beautiful way for them to deepen their understanding of Buddhism and Hinduism.
We start off with this Prezi, learning about the design and significance of mandalas. One of my favorite moments every semester is watching jaws drop when the sand mandala video clip reaches its dramatic end!
I demonstrate how to draw a circle divided into 12 even sections on watercolor paper, then how to develop a mandala design with radial symmetry. We talk about variety in line weight, and creating contrast by choosing certain shapes to color in completely with Sharpie.
Before students begin painting, they label colors in color wheel order out to the edge of the paper–this prevents so many mishaps! We review the color wheel and color mixing, then I demonstrate how to use liquid watercolors, using just the primary colors to create the entire spectrum.