color swatches
K-12EducatorsThe Arts

Exploring Color – Lesson Plan

Students construct cut-paper pieces to explore the properties of color.

  • Length: 1 class period
  • Grades: 3-4

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Students will construct cut-paper pieces to explore the powers, temperatures, and movements of colors.

Resource Used:
Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage
Found On: Spectrum of Art Part 1: Making Art

Materials and Handouts

Materials:
5" X 7" construction paper of primary and secondary colors (two primary colors and one secondary color per student), 9" X 12" white paper (one per student), 1/2" X 8" strips of white paper (one per student), scissors, glue, cellophane tape, TV/VCR or DVD player

Handouts:

  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Answer Key

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Instructional Strategies and Activities

Work Tip
Make sure you have enough pieces of each color so that students with orange can have yellow and red paper, those with purple can have blue and red, and those with green can have yellow and blue.

  1. Show the video excerpt “Warm and Cool Colors/Cut-Paper Collage.” Tell students to look for the answers to these questions as they watch:
    • Why are certain colors called warm while others are called cool?
    • What are the warm colors?
    • What are the cool colors?
  2. Discuss the properties of color while looking at different pieces of colored paper. Consider these questions:
    • What are the primary colors?
    • What are the secondary colors?
    • Which colors generally move forward? Which generally recede?
  3. Give each student four pieces of colored paper:
    • a secondary color
    • one of each of the two primary colors that are mixed to make the secondary color
    • one strip of 1/2" X 8" white paper
  4. Instruct students to glue down the two primary colors, side by side, in the middle of a piece of 9" X 12" white paper.
  5. Have students cut two or three long, thin shapes from the secondary color. Direct them to lay each of these shapes on top of the primary colors, making sure that each shape overlaps the two primary colors.
  6. Have the students glue the shapes down.
  7. Tell students to take the 1/2" X 8" white strip and lay it down over the center of the piece, where the two primary colors meet, and tape it down at the top.
  8. Tell the students to stand back and squint at the piece. Ask them how the secondary color looks different on each of the primary colors. The difference may be subtle, but students should be able to see that the primary colors are pulling themselves out of the secondary color, making it look as if it had more of the remaining primary color. Ask students to explain why they chose the colors they chose and to use art vocabulary from the lesson to explain color properties.

Extension: Have students explore works of art collected from Internet research looking for the use of color in artworks.

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Performance Assessment

Performance Event:
Colors have power. Certain colors make us feel certain emotions. Colors have temperatures, too. We say that some colors are “warm” and others “cool.” Colors help move our eyes through an art work. Colors also have effects on other colors when placed together.

Directions:
Create a cut-paper art work to demonstrate the theory that colors can pull themselves out of each other. Pay attention to craftsmanship while cutting and gluing. Explain why you chose the colors you did and how those colors show the effect you want. Using art vocabulary from this lesson, describe the different properties of color.

Performance Scoring Guide

4 3 2 1 0
The student makes a cut-paper piece with shapes of secondary color on top of the two primary colors from which the secondary color is made. Shapes overlap on both primary colors, and the center is covered with a white strip of paper. Craftsmanship is effective. The student consistently uses correct art vocabulary from the lesson to describe the properties of color. The student makes a cut-paper piece with shapes of secondary color on top of the two primary colors from which the secondary color is made. Shapes overlap on both primary colors, and the center is covered with a white strip of paper. Craftsmanship is fairly effective. Overall, the student uses correct art vocabulary to describe the properties of color. The student makes a cut-paper piece with shapes of secondary color on top of the two primary colors from which the secondary color is made. The center is covered with a white strip of paper. Craftsmanship is adequate. The student demonstrates only a vague knowledge of the properties of color and the art vocabulary. The student makes a cut-paper piece with no regard to proper color choice and placement. The center is covered with a white strip of paper. Craftsmanship is minimal. The student demonstrates no knowledge of the properties of color. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant response.

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