Mandalas are circular works of art that generally have different meanings for different beliefs and religions. Designs tend to be symmetrical, elaborate, artistic and symbolic. Creating mandalas is not only a good activity for students in a class to express creativity, but it will also teach them fundamentals of geometry. There are a few different methods to incorporate mandala artwork into a lesson plan.
A good way for students to get a feel for creating mandalas is to add color to a pre-designed mandala. There are several sources online that have free mandala downloads that can be printed. Let the students be creative and color their mandalas in with whatever colors and patterns they would like.
Move on to Mini Mandalas
Once they have colored in a pre-designed mandala, they should have a good idea of what a mandala is and what one looks like. Creating mini mandalas will teach them how a mandala can be created by many different parts working together as a whole. Start by having the students draw a circle with a compass on a small piece of paper. Then have them add in shapes and colors as they see fit. After every student has finished, all of the papers can be put together to create a mandala quilt.
The symmetry of mandalas can be taught in a simple and fun way. Give the students a piece of construction paper with a line drawn down the center of the paper. With pencils and tempera paint, ask the students to paint half of a mandala. When they finish, they should have a half circle filled with a pattern laid out by wet paint. While the paint is still wet, ask the students to fold the paper over and press down on the other side. When they open the paper, they will have a perfectly symmetrical, full mandala.
Mandalas Created with Inspiration
This is a more challenging technique of mandalas, but it serves to give students a good understanding of the real purpose of a mandala. Have the student pick a topic or emotion of their choice. It could be how they are are feeling or a song they heard recently, and ask them to express those feelings through a mandala. They can use different shapes and color patterns in coordination with one another to create a design that properly displays their emotion.
Brian Birmingham began his writing career in 2007 writing for his high-school newspaper. He has written two plays that were selected as winners in the Young Playwrights Festival. He also wrote two short films that won Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the CCHS Film Festival. Birmingham is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University.