Kelly Heenan Kelly Heenan
Lesson Subject: Visual Art
Grade Level: 1-2

Approximate time: two sessions at 30 minutes each

Lesson topic: Visual arts lesson which emphasizes both the primary and secondary colors through the construction of a color wheel and the creation of a piece of art work.

Rationale: Color is used daily in the students’ lives and helps with non-verbal communication.

Artistic Perception:
Each student will be able to create a finger paint painting which exhibits both the primary and secondary colors.

Strategy: A combination of direct instruction , inquiry, and guided discovery will be followed.

Primary colors: The three basic colors from which all other colors are mixed (red, yellow, and blue.)

Secondary colors: The colors that are mixed by adding two primary colors together (orange, violet, and green.)

Ask the question: Does anyone know what the primary colors are? Have students identify the primary colors throughout the room including the students’ clothes. Ask if there are two colors which can be mixed together to create that color they just recognized. Explain the definition of a primary color emphasizing that no colors can be added together to create these.

Activity Sequence:
  • Show the students a blank color wheel. Explain the function of a color wheel. Comment on how most color wheels begin with yellow at the top. Have the students fill in the yellow section of the color wheel using finger paint.
  • Next, have the students fill in the red section of the color wheel. Remind students to skip a pie section which they will fill in later. Do the same thing with the blue section. When the students are through filling in the pie sections with the primary colors they will have a filled-skipped pattern with three sections filled and three left blank.
  • Next, have students guess what yellow and red would make if they were mixed together. The teacher will then take two baby jars filled with water and place them on the overhead projector. Drop a couple drops of yellow food coloring into one jar and a couple of drops of red onto another jar. Explain that you will be mixing the two colors together. Mix the two and the result is orange. Have the students mix the two colors yellow and red together on their blank pie section between the yellow and red to make orange. Repeat step three with green and purple.
  • Describe to the students that they have just created the next set of colors, the secondary colors which are orange, green, and purple. Go over definition with class.
  • Have prepared finger-paint of the primary colors in squirt bottles. Pass out one sheet of finger-paint paper to each student. Instruct them to write their name on the back in pencil.
  • Have prepared squirt bottles of primary colors. Students will choose two primary colors to create a drawing.
  • Instruct each student to squirt one spot for each of the two primary colors on their paper (about the size of a walnut.) Have each student mix the two colors in order to create a secondary color. Advise the students to keep at least a small portion of their primary colors exposed. They may create any kind of drawing with the finger-paint.
  • Have the students create a work of art using all the primary and secondary colors. Go over the paint procedure and remind them of color mixing techniques. Have each student use their color wheels for reference.
  • Instruct class to brainstorm drawing ideas. Give each student her painting paper and have them lightly draw their picture in pencil first. When drawing is complete allow students to fill in their pictures with watercolors.
  • Closure: When the class is finished with their finger paint paintings have them gather in groups and point out the primary and secondary colors in the paintings. Refer back to the color wheel and discuss the mixing of colors and how you can create new colors. Have students display their paintings into two groups with the paintings which contain the most primary colors in one group and the paintings with the most secondary in the other.

    Clean - up: Have one person from each group gather up materials and place them on back counter while the other students clean up around their own areas.

    Evaluation: Assessment will be done after each student has completed her painting. The teacher will visually check the students paintings for obvious use of both the primary and secondary colors.

    baby food jars
    food coloring
    individual blank color wheels
    finger-paint paper

    Adapted from: Lauren H. Killam