Mandalas and Personal Identity



The purpose of this lesson is for students to get some background knowledge about Mandalas, learn about working with radial symmetry and symbols, working with different color pencil techniques, and to create a final piece of artwork that represents their own identity. In this we are Building Relationships by creating authentic connection to symbols and ideas in art that represent their own identity. In addition, we are Fostering Disciplinary Literacy by having student create a project using the Creative Process that an artist would go through – Envision to Reflect, Invent & Discover, and Relate and Connect to Transfer.

This Workshop Session was tagged in Visual Arts

Overview and Context

This lesson is presented to 7th and 8th grade Art Students that choose to have this class as an elective.  The school population is most middle to upper class with primarily Caucasian.  Our department has access to a good budget, has a supportive administration, which allows for a variety of projects and classes. We have anywhere from 30-36 students in a studio class.

Process and Protocols

In the Mandalas about me lesson, students began with background information about Mandalas,designing personal mandalas that broken down ideas about their identity into different symbols, and discussing in groups how to incorporat different Characteristic of Expressive Features of Art.  Then students, learned the techniques of working with colored pencils and thinking about color theory before spending several days in studio creating.  At the end of the project students were given the chance to reflect on their final artwork.

Tools and Artifacts

Project – White Drawing Paper, Black Construction Paper, Pencil, Eraser, Felt Tip Marker, Compass, Colored Pencils, Sketchbook (Brainstorming)

Resources – SMART software (color activity/ Mandala presentation), PowerPoint (radial design presentation)      

Workshop Session Files

Workshop Session Images

Reflections and Discoveries


What new insights were gained?

Gathered student responses on a post-it note "ticket out the door"…

What made the artwork have more meaningful for you?

(Thought the identity made my work have deeper meaning, liked the symbols I came up with, learning about Mandalas helped my project, liked writing about my artwork and planning, enjoyed adding color and learning about Mandalas helped my project, liked writing about my artwork and planning, enjoyed adding color and learning new techniques, symbols were cool) 

If you could do this activity again, what would you do differently?

I would help the student to understand how important the planning stage is (sketchbook), since those who planned had an easier time overall, slowed down (first lesson).

How do you think this experience will shape your learning and action?

Reflect on your artwork.  What are you proud of? (Color pencils were fun to work with, my project looked like a 4, I did a good job on my artwork with the new color pencil techniques, cool to know about Mandalas, challenging with the symbols and like the final artwork)

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