Bringing the Color Wheel to Life

It was back to school on Tuesday October 1st as we met new and returning students at Fishtown Recreation Center. The class of twenty-seven students ranged from ages three to five. After a short movement activity, we distributed the color wheel Pre-Test, providing only the six colors of crayons — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The students were given only the instructions to color in the blank wheel, assigning one color per wedge. The older students were able to follow instructions accurately and color each wedge completely, using a different color for each wedge. One child even imaginatively colored the wheel to resemble a pepperoni pizza.

Next, we taught a lesson on the color wheel, using a blank color wheel with removable color pieces. Beginning with the primary colors, students were asked to identify each color before the teacher placed it on the wheel. Virtually all the students were able to correctly identify all the primary colors. Then we explained the concept of mixing two primary colors at a time to create each secondary color. Again, the students were able to identify all the secondary colors easily. At the end of the lesson, the students were asked to return to their color wheel and repeat the test, this time with the goal of placing the six colors in correct relation to each other.

After the Post-Test, we reinforced the lesson with a hands-on, sensory color wheel activity. Students received a color wheel with the names and six colors of the color wheel printed on them, along with three balls of Play-Doh (red, blue, and yellow). We showed them how to blend two colors of Play-Doh to create a new, third color. Once they created the secondary colors, they had to match each color with the correct spot on the color wheel. The purpose of the activity was to allow the students to experience the process of color mixing using both visual and tactile senses. In future lessons, we will revisit the process of mixing primary colors to create secondary colors, using different mediums, such as watercolors and tissue paper.

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