MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern

Students research mandalas and apply what they learn to draw their own mandala that incorporates a word or message that inspires them. They use coloured pencils, markers or watercolour pencils to colour it.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Social Studies
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

concentric circles mandala pattern radial balance repetition

Materials

Drawing Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Watercolour Pencils Coloured Pencils Fine Line Markers Paint Brushes Water Containers Paper Towels Scissors

Steps

MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step One

Step One

  1. Use the How To Draw A Mandala worksheet to draw your mandala. (Downloads - HowToDrawAMandala.pdf)
  2. Begin by cutting out all the tracer circles.
  3. Centre the largest circle on your paper and trace around it.
  4. Remember to draw all guidelines lightly so they will be easy to erase when you are finished.
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Make a small dot at each section around the circumference of the circle.
  2. Lightly draw guidelines through the centre of the circle to connect the dots.
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use the tracer to draw a smaller circle inside the 1st circle.
  2. Use the guidelines to make sure the circles line up.
  3. Use the tracer to draw a smaller circle inside the 2nd circle.
  4. Use the guidelines to make sure the circles line up.
  5. There should be 3 concentric circles.
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use the guidelines to place organic and geometric shapes around the circle.
  2. Draw a shape on a guideline. Then repeat it in the same spot on each of the guidelines in that circle.
  3. Add other shapes and lines around the circle until it if full.
  4. Let your imagination be your guide.
  5. Lightly write your word or message in the centre of your mandala. 
  6. Relax your mind and body as you work.
  7. Think about your madala's message. 
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Erase the guidelines.
  2. Colour the design using markers, watercolour pencils or coloured pencils.
  3. Choose colours that feel right to you.
  4. Let your imagination be your guide.
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Practice the style of lettering you plan to use, for example, modern calligraphy.
  2. Choose a colour that you like for the lettering.
  3. Write your message on your mandala.
MINDFUL MANDALAS – Radial Balance, Repetition, Pattern - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Tidy up any smudges or details.
  2. View your mandala from a distance to see it with fresh eyes.
  3. Remember how it felt to create this message to yourself.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use mathematical thinking to draw a mandala with 3 concentric circles;
  • create a personal design using repeated lines, shapes and colours;
  • include a significant word or message as part of the design;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

Extensions

Have students:

  • create a small booklet of 4 personal mandalas using symbols and images that relate to something meaningful that happened in each of 4 weeks;
  • use a variety of colouring tools and techniques for the mandalas;
  • write a short response to each mandala explaining what it means and how they got their ideas;
  • share their work with their peers.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students learn how to write fancy letters using the Modern Calligraphy lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Prior to this lesson provide time for students to research mandalas.
  3. Download and display the Balance and Repetition posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the principle of repetition – motif, pattern
  4. Gather, and make available, books about mandalas, for example, The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe, by Bailey Cunningham; Mandala: Advanced Coloring Book for Kids, by Creative Kids; and Mandalas for Kids: Mandala Coloring Books for Kids, by V Art.
  5. Download images of mandalas from the Internet, for example,
    Tibetan Mandala
    Amitayus Mandala
    Sand Mandala
  6. Download and print the How To Draw A Mandala worksheet, enough for each student to have one. (Downloads – HowToDrawAMandala.pdf)

Introduction

  1. View and discuss some images of mandalas in books and from the Internet, inviting students to share interesting facts they learned about mandalas, for example,
    - mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning circle
    - for some mandalas represent the universe 
    - they symbolize wholeness
    - many ancient cultures used sacred circles, for example, Indigenous Peoples in North America, Buddhists, Hindus, Aborigines in Australia
    - can have symbolic and sacred meaning
    - there are strict rules for how traditional mandalas are made
    - healing mandalas are used for meditation and mindfulness
    - they help people relax and understand themselves better
  2. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Use mathematical thinking to draw a mandala with 3 concentric circles.
  2. Create a personal design using repeated lines, shapes and colours.
  3. Include a significant word or message as part of the design.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - drawn a mandala with 3 concentric circles
    - created a personal design
    - added a word or message that is meaningful to me
    - repeated lines, shapes and colours
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into groups of about 6.
  2. Ask them to view the mandalas and to share thoughts about the works.
  3. During the discussion include references to: 
    Design - How does the design make you feel? Why?
    - Colour - What effect do the colours have on the overall design?
    - Pattern - How has pattern been created?
    - Technical Accomplishment - Where can you see that the artist has paid attention to detail?
    - Message - How does the way the words are written contribute to the message?
  4. Ask volunteers to share some ideas with the whole class. 

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they share and discuss their mandalas – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Mandalas_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to reflect on their work. (Downloads - Mandalas_self-assessment.pdf) 
  5. Have students use the Symbolism in Mandala Design information sheet to reflect on their mandalas. (Downloads - SymbolismInMandalaDesigns_self-assessment.pdf) 
    - What did they discover about the symbols and colours they used?
    - Did the symbolism information reveal anything new or surprising about themselves?