Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fourth Grade Color Wheels

My fourth graders are in the process of learning about the color wheel. I taught them that the color wheel is like a map, and on that map are located primary, secondary and intermediate colors. (I know that there is more to learn, such as complementary, analogous, etc. but we will get to this later.) After taking some time for the student to get this concept, I tell the children that they will be making their own color wheel, but that it is not going to be boring. I give them a 12x12 piece of drawing paper, a pencil and a ruler. The first step is to split the paper into 12 equal parts.



I have them fold the paper corner to corner (to form a triangle) twice, so that it makes an X on their square. Then I have them use the ruler to trace their fold lines. Next, I have them measure out 4 and 8 inches on all four sides. Finally, they draw line from each 4 and 8 inch mark into the center of their paper. This gives them a grid like the above picture. Next, they choose a design, and draw that design in each section, making sure to draw large. After the designs are drawn, the students label each section with the colors on the color wheel. At this point, they must show me their papers, so I can quickly check to make sure that the color are in the right order. I have them label each section with a color, so that while they are painting, they are less likely to make a mistake.

After they have drawn and labeled everything, the students start painting with tempera paint. They start by painting the primary colors, followed by the secondary colors, and then the intermediate colors. I give them the primary and secondary colors, but they must mix the intermediates. After the designs are painted in, the students paint the background of their color wheels black, so that the colors really pop.

This is my example, but as the students finish theirs, I will share a few. This is the third year that I have done this lesson, but the students love it, and they use their color wheels for other lessons.

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