What is Mandala? Teach your students about this art form with handouts and activities. This art lesson plan walks your students through the ritualistic construction and destruction, as well as the symbolism, of this ancient Buddhist and Hindu tradition.
Art Lesson Begins
Have the word “Mandala" written on the board as students walk into class. Have students raise their hands to guess what “Mandala“ means. When you have received multiple guesses show one of the pictures below and have the students guess some more. When all the answers are exhausted explain to them that “Mandala" is the Sanskrit word for “circle" and is a form of art stemming from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Tell them that mandalas were often used as a spiritual teaching tool to help strengthen meditation and increase focus. These Mandala art lesson plans handouts can be seen below. Click on the picture to enlarge them.
Mandala Art Lesson Materials
Have the students write all the ways in which a mandala can be created; pencil, sculpture, paint etc. When the students have completed their list ask, “Did anyone include sand?" Explain to your students that mandalas are often made out of painted sand. Refer to the mandala art picture of the two monks creating the sand mandala shown above. Let your students know that sand is used purposefully so that it can be easily collected after its completion to be returned to nature. For the purpose of these Mandala art lesson plans, handouts above can be used at your discretion.
Create, Meditate, Destroy
Instruct your students that they are now going to practice the ancient art of mandala. Each student will receive either a blank piece of paper, or an outline of a mandala, based on their skill level and preference. They will take 10-20 minutes to draw their intricate and symmetrical mandala. Keep the image of the monks working up while the students work. Provide the students with bright colors as mandalas typically are very light pieces.
When the students have finished explain to them that the purpose of the mandala is to reflect on nature and the universe. Have each student pass their mandala to the student on their left and have them reflect on it. Tell them that it should be silent and that they should be looking at the art the entire time. This way they will get a glimpse at what it is like to be part of another culture by practicing. If they wish they can write about their thoughts during the process. It is to be silent and contemplative during this time.
Once a sand mandala is finished and has been enjoyed the monks typically remove the deities from it and then bottle up the sand to be thrown into a nearby river. This symbolizes the transient form of material life. After explaining this to your students they must do the same. Instruct them to them walk to the recycling bin to have their work returned to nature.
Mandala Lesson Plan - References
All Images taken from Wikimedia Commons
Sand Mandala 1 / Henryart / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sand_mandala_tibet_2.jpg
Sand Mandala 2 men working / Henryart / http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/Sand_mandala_tibet_1.JPG
Mandala 1 B & W / Nevit / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circle_mandala_drawing.svg
Mandala 2 B & W /Nevit / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mandala_52.svg
Mandala 3 B & W /Nevit / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mandala_39.svg