Thursday, November 13, 2008

Colorcombs - Primary & Secondary Colors in 3D Sculpture

Grade Levels: K -2

Brief History and Background

The color wheel is fundamental aspect in art that help students understand the relationship between colors. There are three primary colors, which are red, yellow and blue. Primary colors are the only colors that cannot be made by mixing two colors together. However, the three primary colors are used to make secondary colors. These colors are green, orange and purple. It is important for students to grasp this concept in order to further their knowledge in art.

Freestanding sculpture is three-dimensional and surrounded on all sides, except the base, by space. It is also known as sculpture "in the round", and is meant to be viewed from any angle.

In a hive, bees use their honey stomachs to ingest and process the nectar a number of times. It is then stored in the honeycomb. Nectar is high in both water content and natural yeasts, which unchecked would cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed - bees inside the hive "fan" their wings creating a strong draft across the honeycomb. This enhances evaporation of much of the water from the nectar. The reduction in water content, which raises the sugar concentration, prevents fermentation. Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by the beekeeper, has a long shelf life and will not ferment.

A worker bee is a non-reproducing female, which performs certain tasks in support of a beehive. Worker bees undergo a well-defined progression of capabilities. In the summer 98% of the bees in a hive are worker bees. In the winter, besides the queen, all bees are worker bees. Workers feed the queen and larvae, guard the hive entrance and help to keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. Worker bees also collect nectar to make honey. In addition, honeybees produce wax comb.

Worker bees of a certain age will secrete beeswax from a series of glands on their abdomen. They use the wax to form the walls and caps of the comb. When honey is harvested, the wax can be gathered to be used in various wax products like candles and seals.

Bees collect pollen in the pollen basket (a concave area on the hind legs of the bee with special hairs to hold the pollen in place) and carry it back to the hive. In the hive, pollen is used as a protein source necessary during brood-rearing. In certain environments, excess pollen can be collected from the hive. It is often eaten as a health supplement.

PA: 2.9 – Geometry, 3.3 – Biological Sciences, 9.1- Production, 9.2- Historical and Cultural Contexts, 9.3- Critical response, 9.4- Aesthetic Response

Goal: Students will use crayon or markers to create a color hexagon (wheel) with primary and secondary colors. Students will then paint primary and secondary colors on 3-D hexagonal containers in order to construct a collaborative honeycomb sculpture.


  • Students will learn the difference between primary and secondary colors as well as two-dimensional and three-dimensional.
  • Students will create their own color hexagon, using crayon or markers.
  • Students will learn about honeycombs in anticipation of building a class honeycomb sculpture.
  • Students will use their acquired knowledge regarding the primaries and secondaries to paint a hexagon-shaped container, which will then be used in a collaborative honeycomb sculpture.
Resource Materials/ Visual Aids

• Color wheel detective lens
• Teacher exemplars of color hexagon and final product
• Images of honeycombs, bees for visual display

Supplies/ Materials

• Acetate primary color sheets
• Crayons/Markers
• Primary color tempera paint
• Brushes
• Hexagon-shaped containers
• Smocks
• Art tape
• Table covers
• Water dishes
• Paper plates for color mixing
• Baby wipes (for cleaning up)
• Plastic container (for dirty brushes)
• Trash bag (for clean-up)
• Bucket or plastic tub for dirty paintbrushes
• Paper towels

Teacher Preparation

Garbage Bag Smocks and Tablecloths: Prior to class, teacher should cut a whole for the head and the arms for the students to put on garbage bag smocks. Tablecloths should cover the tables.

Detective Color Wheel Lens: The teacher should cut acetate sheets into petal-like shapes and then punch hole in the bottom center. Take string and loop the three primary colors together. String should be long enough so the student can wear it around their neck like a necklace.

Coloring/Painting: Teacher should have hexagons ready and prepared for the children. Teacher should create an exemplar of the color hexagon and the final sculpture to show the students. Visual aids, such as honeycomb and bee imagery as well as a sample color hexagon, should be displayed/distributed.

Material: Teacher should have paints, brushes and water ready for each table. Also, it may be necessary to have smock available for children.


Morning Lesson -Part 1: Detective Lenses & Color Hexagon

Introduction: Review the color wheel with the students. (Last week they were introduced to the color wheel and complementary colors, so we will review what they learned last week). Teacher should then briefly explain that, by mixing two primary colors together, secondary colors are formed. (Color wheel detective lens should then be distributed). The teacher will explain to the students that the lenses will help to see what secondary colors will be made when two primary-colored lenses are overlapped. The teacher will ask the students to put the blue lens on top of the yellow to see what color is made. Do this for each primary color combination. Students will now begin their color hexagon activity. Discuss the hexagon shape. How is it different from other shapes?


1. Color wheel review and detective lens distribution.

2. Teacher will distribute pre-cut hexagons (divided up into 6 triangles) and crayons/markers. Have students put their names on the back right away.

3. Students will color every other triangle on the hexagon with a primary color. Students will then add secondary colors in-between the two primary colors that create said secondary color (i.e. blue-green-yellow, red-orange-yellow, etc.). Teacher will encourage students to use their detective lenses to figure out the secondary colors.

4. Teacher will have one student form each table collect the crayon/markers. Students will put their color hexagon in a pile at the center of their tables. Teachers will collect them and re-distribute later.

Afternoon – Part 2 – Honeycomb Sculpture

Introduction: Teacher will show students images of honeycombs and survey the class to see if anyone can name it. Teacher will then explain what honeycombs are and why/how they are built. Teacher will then tell the students they will be making their own class honeycomb with color or a ‘colorcomb’.

1. Have students put on their smocks at the start of the lesson. (Teachers should assist students with their smocks, as it can be a safety hazard when using garbage bags).

2. Paper plates with paint, water dishes/cups, paintbrushes and hexagon containers will be distributed to each student. Students should put their name on the back of the hexagon.

3. Students will be given the three primary colors on a paper plate and will be told to paint every other square on the outside of the hexagon with a primary. Instruct them not to paint the inside of the hexagon or the back of the hexagon until given instructions to do so.

4. Teachers should then tape the top of the hexagon container to the bottom; covering up the student’s name, but still able to remover the cover at a later time.

5. Once all the primary colors have been painted, students will paint secondary colors in-between the primary colors that create it, exactly like they did with their crayon-colored hexagons.

6. Students will then be given a piece of art tape to adhere their color hexagons to the inside of their hexagon container.

7. Students will then choose any of the primary or secondary colors to paint the back (the container top) of their hexagons.

8. Students will place their hexagons on poster board to dry.

9. Students can then free draw or do a word find (relative to the lesson) and, if the hexagons are dry, will be given the opportunity to start their class sculpture.

10. Once the hexagons are dry, some students will begin the foundation of the honeycomb by placing their hexagons in a row. Others will be given a piece of art tape to adhere their hexagons to the bottom row and so on, until a honeycomb structure has been formed.

11. Teachers will then begin clean-up procedures. One student from each table will collect the paint plates and throw them away. Another student will collect paintbrushes with a plastic bin. Teachers will gather water dishes and smocks.

12. Students will use wipes or line up at the sink for hand washing.

13. Students will look at their honeycomb (in the round, if possible) and discuss what they see.

Critique/ Evaluation/ Assessment

1) Comprehension of the color wheel, primaries and secondaries and the honeycomb structure.
2) Successful creation of a color hexagon and contributed to the class sculpture with their painted hexagon.
3) Followed the primary and secondary color schema, coloring/painting three primary colors and the secondary colors that exist in-between on both the color hexagons and the painted hexagon containers.
4) Created a freestanding class sculpture from their hexagons and discuss/critique their final products.

Time Schedule

10-11:45 – Part 1
11:45-12:15 Snack Time
12:15-1:45 – Part 2

Vocabulary: Primary Color, Secondary Color, Honeycomb, Hexagon, Sculpture, Two-dimensional or 2D, Three-dimensional or 3D

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