Complementary Color Wheels

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6th grade created color wheels using tempera paint in the primary colors. First, they drew two color wheel layouts on 12×12″ paper by finding the center of the paper, using a compass to draw a circle, and measuring to divide the circle into 12 even sections.

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Then, they used the primary colors to mix and paint the proper colors on both wheels, which involves plenty of critical thinking and training of the eye to recognize subtle differences between hues!

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When finished painting, students worked in their visual-verbal journals to brainstorm words that describe them, selecting a few to represent with visual symbols.

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Once students settled on a symbol, they created a stencil using recycled tag board and traced the stencil on each color of one of their completed color wheels.

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Students learned about the eye-popping, high-contrast effects of complementary colors, and then cut out those 12 symbols and attached them to their complement on the second color wheel.

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They make a pretty stunning display! Huge thanks to our awesome PTA for these new bulletin boards at the Powers Ferry Campus.

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Watercolor Mandala Color Wheels

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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