When searching for appropriate art projects for students, the color wheel provides an excellent topic. Higher-level students can use watercolor paints to create projects that show the color spectrum. However, paint might be a little too difficult to manipulate for students with autism or other disorders that prevent them from functioning in a general education classroom. Luckily, projects can be modified to suit all children.
A fun and easy project that teaches the color wheel in an adaptive art class would be to use assorted objects in various colors to represent each part of the color wheel on a sheet of paper. Find or buy objects such as a bag of small feathers, buttons and pre-made shapes such as triangles and circles. Make sure they are all in assorted colors. Put each of these into a separate container or a white paper plate so that they are easily accessible. You will want to have a choice of between four to six different objects.
Next, take a large sheet of white paper (11” x 17”) and a dark color crayon. Draw a line going vertically down the middle. Draw another line going horizontally across the page. Draw two lines diagonally across each of these, so that the paper is divided into six parts. This will be used as your color wheel.
Have an adult work with each child. Small groups work best. No more than five or six to a large table. Give each child a sheet of the white paper on which you drew your lines. Next, you will want to fill in each section of your color wheel with as many different objects as you can find in one color. For example, if you are working with red, find a red button and glue it down. Next, find a red feather and glue it down. Keep going in this fashion until you have filled in each section of your color wheel. Red, blue, green, orange, yellow and purple make for a colorful display. It not only teaches the colors in the spectrum, but it helps with visual and tactile learning while providing a sense of accomplishment.
When you are done, if there is enough room around the edges to trim, cut off about an inch or two around the entire project. Take a large piece of colored construction paper, (11” x 17” or larger), and use it as a matt for your color wheel. This makes for a nice contrast and it will allow you to hang it up in your room more easily.
This project can be modified for any age or level of ability. You can even find projects that combine the color wheel with science, the color wheel with language, or even an interactive color wheel. Explore the possibilities. Engage your students in different projects. Most of all have fun with it!