Infuse Art – Change Our World
April 1, 2019
Jordan Valley School Presents:
April 11, 2019

Mandala Magic Lesson Plan

VISUAL ART STRAND: CONNECT (5.V.CO) Students will relate artistic skills, ideas, and work with personal meaning and external context

Standard 5.V.CO.1: Apply formal and conceptual vocabularies of art and design to view surroundings in new ways through artmaking.
Science: Standard 5: Students will understand that traits are passed from the parent organisms to their offspring, and that sometimes the offspring may possess variations of these traits that may help or hinder survival in a given environment.

Objective 2 : Describe how some characteristics could give a species a survival advantage in a particular environment.

Research a specific plan or animal and report how specific physical attributes provide an advantage for survival in a specific environment.
Researching and observing different patterns in nature; using these patterns to construct Mandalas.



Using the Caldecott medal winner book, Swirl by Swirl - Patterns in Nature by Joyce Sidman, various YouTube clips and Internet images of natural patterns found in nature, the teacher will lead students in identifying repeating patterns found on different organisms/titles and how they might protect them in their natural environments.


Step by step instructions (Direct Instruction) will be given to students on how to draw repeating patterns (inspired by patterns found in nature) to design a mandala.


This lesson can be started in one 45 minute session. Students will need one or two more 45 minute sessions to complete their mandalas.


Students share/compare work with fellow classmates describing their mandalas and specific nature patterns they chose.


Radial Symmetrical Designs: Students can also learn about symmetry and repeating patterns in nature in a different way; by studying photos of radial symmetry depicting flowers and vegetables as well as man made stained glass and stone carving.

Kathleen Fifield, BTSALP Visual Art Specialist at Ensign Elementary School in Salt Lake City School District, demonstrated how to fold a square paper to have 4 triangular quadrants. Students then used a compass to draw a curved line in one of the quadrants or “pie slices.”

After creating their abstract design, using only shapes and lines (no words or familiar images,) they folded their papers in various ways in order to trace the first slice three more times creating a radial symmetrical design. They traced it with black marker and used color sticks to add symmetrical color to their piece.

Using the art form of scientific drawing to teach the Science standards of observing the physical attributes of organisms and animals found in nature.
How can specific plants or animals use their specific physical attributes as an advantage for survival in a specific environment?
More advanced students could use a compass and protractor to draw their mandalas. Struggling students could use circular templates (See examples in DEMONSTRATION section of lesson plan) or circular lids of jars to begin their mandalas.
  • environment
  • organisms
  • patterns
  • mandalas
  • compass
  • protractor
  • offspring
  • variations
  • survival
  • conceptual
  • formal
Assessment will take place in an authentic way - through peer share/explain.
There are many ways to make mandalas and many different materials you can use. Inspiration is everywhere.


  • White art paper
  • Circular items to trace - jar lids, empty yogurt containers, glasses and cups, etc.
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Compass
  • Rulers or other measuring tools


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