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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Spectrum Stories

Project URL:
http://teachnet-lab.org/meisler/spectrum_lesson/spectrum_home.html

How it works:
Spectrum Stories intermixes color theory, scientific theory, and creative writing. Students learn to mix the spectrum of colors using a limited palette of paint in order to illustrate stories that integrate specialized color theory vocabulary. They create very unusual color wheels that illustrate their stories and include the text within the image. The spectrum stories, which incorporate a series of color-related words, richly integrate the visual and language arts.


Standards addressed:  
Students understand and apply media, techniques, and processes, and make connections between the visual arts and other disciplines.


Materials used: 
Required materials include computers with Internet access, pencils, white drawing paper, watercolors, tempera paint, crayons, colored pencils, and water.


The students:
The 6th grade students at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a
small 6-12th grade NYC public school, created spectrum stories. This
unit occurred after they had read the biography and writings of Helen
Keller.


Overall value:
After reading about the life of Helen Keller and creating spectrum
stories, students have a greater appreciation of the miracle of sight,
the senses, and of spoken and written language. They see the
connections between science and art, and express those connections with
written and visual symbolic language.


Tips: 
Try to limit the use of color in lessons prior to this unit. For example, limit the drawings or paintings to monochromatic (one color theme) or black and white. Have students write compositions in which there cannot be any references to color. Ask them to imagine a world without color. Elicit a discussion of whether they dream in black and white or color. Ask students where they have seen the color spectrum or rainbow in the real world (crystals in the light, oil spills, puddles, or a rainbow itself).

Here are some web resources to help you teach about color theory:

http://members.cox.net/mrsparker2/teacher.htm
http:// www.everydayart.com/color.html
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/eyecol.html
http://color-wheel-pro.com


 


Ab
out the teacher:
Meryl Meisler teaches traditional and digital art in addition to being the Admissions Director at I.C.E., a small progressive NYC school.
Meryl has received a Disney American Teacher Award in visual arts, serves on the Teachers Network Board of Directors, and is a consultant to the Whitney Museum’s online learning department.



E-mail:
mmeisl@nycboe.net


Subject Areas: 

Technology
English Language Arts  
Visual Arts  

Grade Levels: 
5-6

 

 

 

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