Friday, July 1, 2011

4th Grade Complementary Colors (Color Wheel)

Here's a project I did a few years ago.  Most kids really enjoyed the project but it did take far too long for some to finish.   I'm not sure I'd do it again as a whole group project but I would make it available as a center idea.  The reason I wouldn't repeat this whole group is due to the time it takes to complete the entire project.  It took several days from start to finish and in some cases, it took 4 class periods.  Maybe if I let the kids use markers instead of paint the process would speed up.  Also, it may look nicer in a 9x9 or 10x10 paper.

Steps we followed:
1.  Using a ruler and a pencil (drawing lightly), divide the paper into 6 parts (as per example)
2.  Students center their name (using pencil) in block lettering.
3.  Outline in black marker.
4.  Color each section as a color wheel.
5.  Color those parts of the letters that fall within the boundaries of a color wheel section the appropriate complementary color.
6.  Re-outline using black marker if necessary.
7,  Mount on construction paper.

I'm not sure where I got this idea.  Likely I found it on the Internet.  Here are three more examples.


Color Wheel

Here's a simple and fun way to get a color wheel into the hands of primary students.  The colored wheel can be found here and the black and white here.

Following introduction to the color wheel and discussing primary and secondary colors and how the color wheel works, I give the kiddies a little assignment.  They are each given a set of paints, water, brush, and plain paper.  I paint with them and demonstrate each step. I have them paint a picture using all six basic colors but they can only use the blue, yellow, and red from the tray.  They have to make their own secondary colors.  Colors are mixed right on the paper.

Students paint a purple butterfly, orange sun, green tree, blue sky, adding yellow and red in whatever way they want.  Here are a couple of paintings by the 1st graders.

This is just one of many ideas I use for teaching color theory.  I like this activity because I can complete the entire process in one 45 minute lesson.

One of the most popular centers in my classroom is the paint center.  Periodically, I only supply the center with the three primary colors and let the kids use painting trays for mixing.  After a few weeks I add the secondary colors and challenge the kids to create new and interesting colors.  I love the conversations that I hear at this center.

A good book to use to show color relationships is Mouse Paint.   

Next year I hope to make some primary color Playdough and give each student a Ziploc bag with two primary colors in each bag.  Then the kiddies can mix their colors and take home a secondary color.

Here's another lesson idea on the color wheel.  I would love to hear your ideas as well.