Students will have an opportunity to refine their use of expository writing.
Balance and Symmetry
Time Alloted60 - 90 Minutes
State Content Standards
1.0 ARTISTIC PERCEPTION: 1.1 Identify and describe all the elements of art found in selected works of art (e.g., color, shape/form, line, texture, space, value). 1.4 Describe how balance is effectively used in a work of art (e.g., symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial).
2.0 CREATIVE EXPRESSION: 2.5 Select specific media and processes to express moods, feelings, themes, or ideas.
4.0 AESTHETIC VALUING: 4.1 Construct and describe plausible interpretations of what they perceive in works of art.
English Language Arts:
2.0 Reading Comprehension. 2.4 Clarify an understanding of texts by creating outlines, logical notes, summaries, or reports.
1.0 Writing Strategies. 1.1 Choose the form of writing (e.g., personal letter, letter to the editor, review, poem, report, narrative) that best suits the intended purpose. 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics). 2.2 Write expository compositions (e.g., description, explanation, comparison and contrast, problem and solution):
a. State the thesis or purpose.
b. Explain the situation.
c. Follow an organizational pattern appropriate to the type of composition.
d. Offer persuasive evidence to validate arguments and conclusions as needed.
Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.0 Written and Oral English Language Convention. 1.1 Use simple, compound, and compound-complex sentences; use effective coordination and subordination of ideas to express complete thoughts. 1.4 Use correct capitalization. 1.5 Spell frequently misspelled words correctly (e.g., their, they're, there).
- Focus artwork
- Definition of a mandala
- Several pictures of mandalas for examples. http://www.mandalaproject.org/ has several examples of mandalas
- Black and white construction paper, half sheets
- Variety of media: marker, crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels
- Lined paper and pencils or pens
Teaching Tips: This lesson can be split into three mini-lessons: Steps 1-4, steps 5-7, and steps 8-10
1) Write the word “balance” on the board. Ask the students to tell you the definition. When the students have given an appropriate definition, write it next to the word. Now write the visual art definition of balance. “The way in which the elements in visual arts are arranged to create a feeling of equilibrium in a work of art.” Next write the word symmetrical on the board. Again, ask the students to define the word. If they cannot, help out and write the definition. “Both sides of the artwork are the same, like a mirror image.” Repeat the same procedure for asymmetrical. “Both sides of the artwork are balanced, but not a mirror image,” and radial, “items in the artwork are arranged around a central point (like rays around a spoke).” NOTE: If the students have done lessons 1-3, then encourage them to talk about the focus artwork using the vocabulary from the elements of art.
2) Show the students the focus artwork: Day of the Dead Plate. Ask the students to define the type of balance (radial symmetry). Have the students explain why. If the artwork is on a transparency, overlay a blank transparency and allow students to circle different places that show symmetry on the transparency with an overhead pen. If the artwork is being shown on a whiteboard, allow students to use the whiteboard markers and circle examples.
3) Next show the artwork: Bhairava. Ask the students what type of balance this sculpture has (asymmetrical—the sculpture is balanced, but not exactly the same on both sides). Allow students the opportunity to point out what they see, and explain why this artwork is asymmetrical in design.
4) Show the focus artwork: Buddha from Burma. Ask the students what type of balance this is. Have the students’ explain why by showing the line of symmetry..
5) Finally, show a variety of mandalas to the students and have them discuss what type of balance is in each mandala. Encourage the students to use the vocabulary of art to discuss the mandala (line, space, texture, color). Explain to the students that they are going to learn more about mandalas as well as create one of their own.
6) Hand out the definition of a mandala to students. Have the students pair up and read, underlining or noting in the margin key words and concepts. This activity may be done whole class.
7) Explain to the students that they are going to create their own personal mandala. They must give careful thought to color, line, shape, and balance. Allow the students to choose black or white paper and the media they would like to use. Remind students that blues, greens, and purples, are considered “cool” colors while oranges, reds, and yellows are “warm” colors, and that people react to those types of colors emotionally. Students may want to see examples of other mandalas before they begin on their own.
8) Allow students time to completely finish their mandalas.
9) Pair up students and have them talk about their mandalas. Have them describe why they chose the lines, shapes, color, and balance that they did.
10) Working independently, have students write a rough draft about their mandala. They need to explain why they designed the mandala the way they did, why they chose black or white paper to work on and why they chose certain lines, shapes and colors. They also need to include the rationale for why they chose the balance they did—symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial. An outline or format can be created to for the students to follow if necessary.
11) Have students share their mandalas and essay with small groups or whole class.
Assessment: Through the creating of a personal mandala, students will use color, line, and shape to demonstrate an understanding of one of the three types of visual art balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial. Students will demonstrate an understanding of expository writing and their understanding of the art concept of balance by writing a one page paper where they explain their mandala and the choices made using visual art vocabulary such as color, line, and shape.
Title and Date: Day of the Dead Plate, 2003
Artist: Susie Ketchum
For the Mexican celebration of El Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the skeleton is used to remember loved ones who have passed away. Usually smiling, calaveras in this context are not meant to frighten, but to honor souls. For Susie Ketchum, skeleton imagery offers a fun and friendly nod to our own mortality and limited time in this world. Here, skulls, hearts, and dice (a symbol of chance and fate) meld into a feat of pattern-making.
Focus Artwork: Buddha from Burma
Focus Artwork: Bhairava