Teaching how a color wheel works is fun for kids and it teaches primary and secondary colors. I decided that all of my grades would make different kinds of color wheels. I am big on displays so I thought that it would look lovely for a final display.
Essentially, a color wheel is a tool to visually see the postion of the primary colors and the secondary colors which are mixed from red, yellow and blue. Experiment beforehand with this and have your students mix, mix mix! They love this and it’s important for them to get as much hands on experience because you learn so much more from DOING!
After the kids have mixed, explored and discovered, they are ready to make their own color wheels. Here are some samples of some of the color wheel my students made. Grade one made theirs the following way. I gave out pre- cut cardboard circles and then gave out a 9 x 12 piece of white paper which the students folded into 6 sections. Their instructions were to draw 3 identical shapes and paint them with the primary colors. The shapes needed to be simple with no details and just an outline. Then they made an outline of three other identical shapes. Their challenge was to make the secondary colors by mixing two primary colors together. They needed to make 3 new colors. I gave out plastic plates with some red, yellow and blue paint. Tip: plastic plates can be washed an re- used again and again!
They collected their water container, paint brush and protective paper for the table. It’s good to remind the students that they must keep their three colors ‘clean’ and can mix colors on another part of their plate. They must remember to wash their brush between colors using their water cup and dry their brush on the protective paper before mixing or changing colors. This is a routine that needs to be done over and over till they get it and it’s automatic.
Once they made their new colors (green, orange and purple), they painted their remaining shapes. I then gave out their cardboard circles and they made some lines on them for divisions and painted them in using black and white. When everything was dry, they glued their ‘primary color’ shapes at the 12 , 3 and 9 o’clock marks on their circles and the secondary colors inbetween the primary colors. Then they glued yarn between the primary and secondary colors.
With my grade two class we made color wheel pizzas. These were a lot of fun and the kids loved doing them. They also looked stunning once they were finished and displayed. See my display page for ideas. Anyway, after the kids experimented mixing colors and could tell me how to make the secondary colors, I gave them a giant pre-cut cardboard circle which they divied up into 6 sections. They colored the primary colors and secondary color sections with crayon and then had to fill in each section with ‘toppings’ which were different kinds of paper and magazine cut outs for each color. They brought in from home other toppings such as balloons, wrapping paper etc.. When they were finished , the students sprinkled each section with glitter ‘cheese’. The end result was gorgeous and delicious!