Collaborative Mandalas

In this calming visual arts activity students will work together to create mandalas, gaining an understanding of how individual pieces can come together as a whole.

Collaborative Mandalas
  • Game

Collaborative Mandalas

Contributed by Yael Ben-Zion

Description

In this calming visual arts activity students will work together to create mandalas, gaining an understanding of how individual pieces can come together as a whole.

Directions

  • Introduction:
    • Start by sharing examples of mandalas. Ask students to indicate the similarities and differences they observe. Share information about mandalas as an artform.
    • Explain to students that they will be making mandalas collaboratively; the artworks will be passed around so everyone can contribute. 
  • Making the Mandala:
    • Each student receives a square piece of paper and begins a mandala with a small circle in the center. 
    • Students pass the paper to their right. The next student will have 3 minutes to add a pattern around the circle. When the time is up, students pass the mandala to their right again. Each time the mandalas are passed, students add a concentric circle of pattern  The mandalas are done after approximately 4 rounds.
    • The completed mandalas can then be arranged as pieces of a larger full class mandala. 
  • Reflection: Ask the students the reflection questions below.
    • How did making a repeating pattern make you feel? 
    • How did you choose your material/pattern?
    • How was it to share your work with the students in your group?
    • Did you expect the mandalas to come out like this? 

Transition into Activity

Show pictures and describe different mandalas. Ask students to share how they are similar or different. 

Transition out of Activity

Use the concept of how the individual parts made up the whole in the mandalas as a simile for how this was one of many activities that are part of students’ experiences today. 

Classroom Arrangement

Students will need a surface on which to create, and be arranged so that they can easily pass the artwork around. Some options include working at large tables or with desks in a circle. 

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Provide Classroom Professionals with examples in advance so that students have additional time to examine them. 
  • Model turn taking and passing the mandala with Classroom Professionals.
  • Provide a few different materials to create the mandalas and offer students choices.
  • Mandalas can be made with a variety of materials including: markers, pencils, stamps & stickers, dot markers, washi tape,   pre-cut collage shapes, earth-work (e.g. stones, leaves, feathers), and/or on digital devices.
  • Use a visual timer, a chime, music or other indicator to pace the transfer of artwork from student to student.
  • This activity can be done in small groups or as  a whole-class.
  • If using pencils or markers, provide some with adapted handle/pencil grips.

Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals

  • Assist with distribution of materials as needed.
  • Participate in modeling and art making.

Adjustments for Remote Instruction

Ask students to pass their artwork digitally by taking turns on a digital drawing file or whiteboard.