Saturday, May 28, 2011


Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are

Central Idea: The way we act and communicate reflects the beliefs we hold.

 First, the concept of mandalas and religious symbols were introduced-- we are lucky enough to live in Southeast Asia so we had an opportunity to go around town on a Buddhist symbol scavenger hunt. It deepened our understanding of our host country (Cambodia) to understand what the various symbols that we see every day mean.

As another tuning in activity, I gave the kids symbols from major world religions and had them guess which religion each symbol belonged to and explain their thinking.  The next step was actually creating the mandala based on their personal belief systems-- I gave them a 1/4 circle template to create their design.

Before they started, we went over the rubric so that they understood that they would have to be able to explain why they used each symbol-- the mandala had to reflect their personal beliefs or experiences.  I made sure to have nature symbols available for kids who didn't have a religious affiliation.

Once they had their 1/4 circle completed, I gave them carbon paper and a complete circle template so that they could repeat their design around the circle.  They had to pass a shading "test" with colored pencil before I let them loose to color their final designs.  :)

I always get some candles going and lights low during the coloring phase of this project, along with some ethereal religious music (Gregorian chants and Tibetan monks work well for this) It really sets the mood and the kids love it.

This year, the mandalas came out so well that we made greeting cards with them on the front and the kids sold them as a part of their Marketplace unit.  Ah, a transdisciplinary curriculum in action!!

Some of the mandala cards

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