Friday, October 16, 2015

Mandalas from India

This year, 2nd grade students are learning about Arts Around the World in their art and music classes. The first country 2nd grade artists traveled to this year is India! We learned that India is located in South Asia, and has the second largest population in the world. We learned that there are many different languages spoken in India and because of it's location, India has periods of heavy rain called monsoon.
We looked at an art form called the mandala, which began in India as a symbol from Buddhism. The word mandala is from the Indian language of Sanskrit and means "circle." We looked at an example of a mandala and students noticed that it had a repeating pattern in its design. 
We looked at different mandalas and pictures of people creating mandalas on the ground, using what looked like chalk. We noticed that they start in the middle and work their way outwards. We thought about what happens to drawings that we make on the sidewalk or asphalt when we use chalk and talked about how they wash away eventually, which might also happen to these mandalas.
We then watched a time elapse video that showed Buddhist monks creating a sand mandala over a period of a week. It took them many hours and their design was very complex and detailed. Afterwards, they destroyed the mandala, brushing the grains of sand into the middle. This surprised many students! We talked about why they might do this, and connected it to when we have drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. Even though the result is not permanent, it is still a fun and worthwhile experience to create something together. 

To explore this idea, students worked in groups at their table (we discussed how the monks working together as a team made their mandala making quicker) to create a mandala using colorful foam shapes.  
Students shared ideas and also compromised to be able to form a group mandala, keeping symmetry and the circular form in mind. At the end of class, student had a chance to see each other's mandalas before (calmly) destroying them and putting all the shapes back into the plastic bag.
The following class, students began designing their own mandala drawings using a theme that expressed their interests and personalities. Some examples of themes that students chose were favorite shapes, sports, games, gardens, and video game characters. 
Using rulers to help find the center point, students drew their mandala starting from the middle and going outwards. They outlined them in Sharpie marker and colored them in, thinking about how to create patterns using color. Students worked hard to make their colors bright and cover the white paper.

Once they were finished, students cut out the circle and glued it onto a background, considering what kinds of colors would complement their mandala design. We also wrote about what we learned in our Passport and received our first stamp! Here are some examples:   
Raffi, 2nd grade (O'Connor)
Prarthna, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Evan, 2nd grade (O'Leary)
Sam, 2nd grade (Pearse)
Yensi, 2nd grade (O'Connor)
Connor, 2nd grade (O'Connor)

No comments:

Post a Comment