Last fall my 1st graders learned about line and color mixing in this pumpkin painting project. In the first class, we talked about lines. EVERY time I teach a lesson about lines to my primary students, I draw the different kinds of lines the students think of on the board, then we all "draw" them in the air with our fingers. The added movement tends to help the students remember better. Next, I led the students in drawing a pumpkin.
Here's the trick that we like:
- Draw a large ellipse in the middle of your paper
- Add a "banana" shape on one side
- Add a "banana" to the other side so it looks like a hotdog in a bun
- Draw the stem above the middle ellipse
- Add another "banana" to each side
Next, the students filled one shape at a time with a different kind of line in each and traced with crayon. We talked briefly about background then the students drew a horizontal line on each side of the pumpkin to represent the back edge of a table top. If the students still had time left, they added lines to the wall in the background and the table top.
In the second class period, I passed out trays with combinations of primary colors. First I gave each table red and yellow paint. They mixed orange and painted their pumpkin. While the students were painting with orange, I was preparing yellow and blue to be used for the stem and table. I prepped the red and blue paint while they painted green. It's a good idea to remove each tray of paint as the groups finish so they don't accidentally dip their brush into the wrong tray. Oh, and about the paint- I bought really cheap tempera, which I will never do again, but this project is the only time it not really being opaque worked in our favor. The students go to mix the liquid paint easily and still see the crayon through it.
I almost always give the students more choices than they had in this lesson. These are not the best example of creativity or artistic expression since they pretty much all look the same. But, it was good way to ensure that they really learned how to mix each secondary color and practiced at least 5 different kinds of lines. I'm telling myself that this is ok once in a while. Honestly, the students were super proud of their paintings even though they looked the same.