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Combine geometric designs while honoring the entire universe! Discover how colors and shapes have meaning in traditional mandala art forms.
The word mandala is derived from "manda" which means "essence" and the suffix "la" meaning "container." Circular mandalas are believed to symbolize the entire universe. Buddhist and Hindu monks who study this art form attempt to create a "container of essence." Invite student groups of 4 to research more about this traditional art form and study examples from a number of different cultures.
Traditionally a mandala is divided into four quadrants, similar to a coordinate plane. To make a personal geometric mandala that is as authentic as possible, students begin by plotting a large circle on graph paper that have "X" and "Y" axes drawn, identifying several ordered pairs to anchor the circle. Students also identify the Point of Origin, ordered pair (0,0). This figure can be translated onto Crayola Color Explosion™ paper with a Color Explosion color-reveal marker. Find the center of the circle and create a dot. This symbolizes the seed that all life begins with and is the starting point.
Historically, one monk is assigned to create each section of the mandala. Remind students that every detail in each of the four quadrants must face the center, or Point of Origin on the coordinate plane. Using the team's research, students design symbols on the coordinate plane that are most important in their lives. As symbols are translated to the Color Explosion paper, colors will be revealed.
Student teams compose a summary paragraph describing their original mandala and explaining their choice of symbols. Post student writing with the mandalas in the classroom or in a school hallway.
Focus on historic achievements and positive role models with this collaborative monument making project.
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