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School Mandala

School can seem like a world of its own! Encourage your students to represent their school in a symmetrical mandala, and create new colors with this colored pencil layering technique!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. A mandala is a sacred symbol of Buddhist culture. Mandalas are symmetrical, geometric designs that are said to represent the universe. In traditional Buddhist art, a mandala is based on scriptures and designed by monks after many years of study and memorization.
    2. Invite your students to explore several examples of mandalas. What similarities can you find among them? What colors are prominent? Predict what the symbols and colors represent. Working in groups, research the most common symbolism in Buddhist mandalas.
    3. Ask students to think about daily life in school. How would they represent it as a mandala? What symbols can be in their designs to signify the features and events in the school? What colors have meaning to the school culture? Invite students to draw a few symbols on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase Markers. Keep these drawings available for students to refer to as inspiration.
    4. To design a mandala for the school, students begin by drawing a small circle in the center of a square piece of white paper using Crayola® Metallic Colored Pencils. Enclose that circle with a square about half the size of the paper. Surround both those shapes with a larger circle that almost touches the edges of the paper. Next, students fill the mandala with symbols and shapes that represent the school! Remember that mandalas are symmetrical in design! (Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils may be substituted for Metallic Colored Pencils.)
    5. Encourage students to add bright, bold colors to the designs drawn. For an interesting effect, two colors of the colored pencils can be layered together to create a new hue! Encourage experimentation.
    6. Mount the completed mandala on a sheet of colored paper that compliments the artwork. Display for the class to enjoy!
  • Standards

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles a s a category, and identify right triangles.

    MATH: Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource: Kids' First Mandalas by Arena Verlag

    Students research Mehndi designs, traditional body art seen in Indian cultures during important events such as weddings. Once researched, students trace their hands on sheets of heavy paper and carefully cut out the shape. Use Crayola Colored Pencils or Classic Markers to decorate the hand cut-outs, recreated Mehndi designs. Display these in the classroom for all classmates to view.

    Students work in groups of 4 to create a large mandala such as the monks once did. Each student in the group is assigned a quadrant on the coordinate plane and draws that piece of the mandala. Students be wary of keeping the design symmetrical!


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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