Learning basic essentials in Art and Geometry in 7th grade

Students in Grade 7 ART class were faced with a tricky problem. How does one create the perfect colour wheel as designed by Johannes Itten (of Bauhaus fame)? The wheel  has a central triangle for the three primary colours, three more triangles forming a  hexagon for the secondary colours  and finally, 12 outer segments to show the primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The problem poses a geometric challenge (how to draw this colour wheel  accurately?) as well as a scientific one (how do I mix all the colours by using only primary colours?)

Math teacher Cate Silcock joined us in the art class and showed us two completely different ways of working with the geometry challenge applying both old and new technologies. Firstly, she showed the students how to use their geometer’s sketchpads on their netbooks to quickly create the colour wheel using software solutions. Then, by hand using a pencil, ruler, a pair of compasses and a protractor, we drew circles, measured the outer sections with their exact 30 degree angles and placed the precise hexagon and triangles accurately.  All measured to perfection!  Students could follow the exact procedure on a big screen as our Ladybug camera was in action.

The science of colour mixing is basic yet essential for understanding colour in art applications. Students worked with complete focus to mix the colours and paint the sections as Johannes Itten designed it in 1961. Successful smiling students!

Stephanie Wintjes,  MS Art Teacher