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Lesson Plan: Radial Design Mandala


Teacher: Mr. Essex Garner, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Jefferson City, Missouri
Cooperating Teacher: Mrs. Suzy Weber
Unit: Radial Design - Drawing from life and color - math/science integration
Lesson Plan: Radial Design Mandala - Colored pencil
Grade Level: Middle School (6 and 9) - Adaptable to higher and lower grades by pie cemeteries.


Objectives: To show the relationship of different cultural aspects in art and why many artist use and understand these relationships to in ever day artworks. To demonstrate that the study of math is also a study of art, and understanding mathematics has a direct correlation of art, design and graphics.

Concept / Topic To Teach: Become aware of  Radial design in art through examples of Rose windows and mandala designs from various cultures.  Understand math concepts as they relate to art. Create a radial design inspired from nature looking closely at insect, plants and/flowers or designs.  Demonstrate skill in blending of colors using colored pencils. Show awareness of color planning in selection of colors. Use of symmetry, balance and designed shapes in continual patterns.

Strand: (Know about Art), (Making Art) and Elements of Art

Example Cat Radial, four Pie Slice

Seventh Grade Project Above St. Joseph Cathedral

Seventh Grade Project Above Eugene R-5 Middle School

Alternate: Create a non-objective design or showing personal symbols. Show awareness and understanding of cultural patterns and symbols (radial design is
prevalent in many works of oriental art).

Compass or circle template, pencils, soft lead pencils (like Ebony), erasers, scissors, colored pencils, 12" square white drawing paper, black paper, Elmer's glue (or rubber cement).  Alternate: Ultra fine point Sharpie markers, markers, 6" square white paper, pie shape template, rulers, pencils, paper clips, masking tape, 12" square white paper. 

Math Vocabulary: Reflection - radial balance - line of symmetry - point of symmetry -perpendicular - diameter radius.

Seventh Grade four Pie Slice Radial Projects  Above St. Joseph Cathedral


  1. Show examples of Radial design in art - PowerPoint or slides of Rose windows and various mandalas Demonstrate steps to make symmetrical design - and transferring to rest of circle.

          Demonstrate/review colored pencil techniques - blending of colors - varying pressure for
          different values. Review color planning.


  1. Trace circle template onto 12" square paper (or 12 x18). May use compass to make circle (11 to 11 1/2" circle). Neatly cut out circle.
  2. Fold the circle in half, then in quarters, then in eighths. Crease Unfold and draw on only one of the "pie slices." Unfold and draw on only one of the "pie slices." This is the stage that can be adapted to fit an elementary through high school lesson.  The drawing can be simple or complex. Guide students to at least have the drawing touch the edge of the pie slice a few times. Dragonfly was drawn from life. The science teacher had students collect bugs (Organic).
  3. Insects could be a theme - or other items from nature drawn from life - flowers - plants - fish. Go over lines with soft lead pencil. Once the pie drawing is completed, the slice is folded inward and then the back of the paper is rubbed with a smooth hard tool to transfer the drawing to the adjacent pie slice. 
  4. Outline on the adjacent pie shape - this 1/4 of the circle is folded in and transferred to the next quarter. Fold over to transfer to the other half of the circle. Color according to your needs.  Select a color plan.  For the
  5. 7th grade project, students blend colors and values using colored pencils. Mount on black paper or complementary backgrounds according to students color scheme when finished.
  6. Resources: Assorted examples of radial design in art: Rose windows, mandalas from various cultures, Hawaiian quilt designs. Mandalas Internet Resources (see Earth Mandalas in particular) Mandalas of Tibet  Insects - plants - pictures of flowers - nature images (If Chinese influence is chosen - have handouts of Chinese art - motifs found in Chinese art)

  7. See Ray Rasmussan Mandalas from Art

For the more complicated design: Use a compass to draw a large circle approximately 11.75 inches. (Any desired size). From the center, measure a 36-degree angle and then cut out a 36-degree pie slice. These are used to make templates out of poster board.
See Pie slice template..

Students trace the pie slice onto their paper and follow through with the process described in the above project.  The only difference is now they have 10 slices instead of 8. Color as above. Compare the eight slice dragonfly with the ten slices one next to it. Mount on black paper.



All four Pie Slice Radials above completed by Seventh Grade St. Joseph Cathedral art students except Ten Pie Slice.


Radial Design Student Evaluation

Did the student:

1.     Draw a circle with a compass or pattern and fine the center? _______(5 pts.)

2.     Divide the paper into four wedged sections within the circle? _______(10 pts).

3.     Draw symbols from the center creating a radial design with symmetrical
   balance? ______ (20 pts.)                 

4.     Add contrasting shapes? _____ (10 pts.)

5.     Use contrasting colors with a specific color harmony? ______ (10 pts.)

6.     Add texture or contrasting texture? _____ (10 pts.)

7.     Use good craftsmanship? ______ (25 pts.)

8.     Extend the design to a point of completion? _____ (5 pts.)

9.     Sketchbook Thumbnail? _______ (5 points)



Total _______/ 100 pts.


Grading scale:             100 91    = A

                                      90 80     = B

                                      79 60     = C

                                      59 50     = D

                                      49 Below = F


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Water Color Gallery One

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Chalk Art 2008 Memorial Park

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