Introduce Mathematical Logic and Tools By Creating Mandala Illustrations

A mandala is a complex, abstract design, usually in circular form. In this project, you will learn how to give students an understanding of measurement, patterns, circles, and positive and negative space by creating fun mandala illustrations.

Activity Time: 40 minutes

Supplies Needed

  • Protractor
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ink Pen(s) (or markers)
  • Circle compass (loaded with a pencil)
  • Paper
mandala student project illustration materials

Project Directions: How to Make a Mandala Illustration

mandala student project using compass starting mandala drawing

Step 1: Begin at the Middle

Using your pen, make a small dot in the middle of your paper. This doesn’t have to be perfectly in the center, but will serve as the anchor point for your compass.

mandala student project draw circles of various sizes using mandala

Step 2: Use Your Compass

Next, take your compass, and place the needle on the dot. Make several circles of different sizes by adjusting the hinge of your compass. The size of the circles is the designer’s choice. Making them various sizes can give you a unique mandala each time!

mandala student project draw a horizontal line through your circles

Step 3: Draw a Horizontal Line

Using your ruler, draw a horizontal line straight through your circles, using the dot you made as a guide.

mandala student project protractor

Step 4: Using the Protractor

Bring out your protractor! Align your tool on the horizontal line. Determine how wide you want your sections to be. For example, for every 30 degrees, mark 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180.

mandala student project pencil and ruler connect marks

Step 5: Draw Lines Through Each Mark

Using your ruler and pencil, draw lines to connect the marks to the center and extend to the other half of the circle.

mandala student project illustrating your mandala

Step 6: Illustrate Your Mandala

Begin marking in your Mandala map. You can start in any circle. The trick to keeping it balanced is that you count how many elements are in each divided section. Repeat that pattern all the way around. Tip: Use something that won’t erase like an ink pen or marker for your final design.

mandala student project featured image

Step 7: Finishing Your Mandala

There are no rules! You don’t have to be an artist, any pattern works. Youth enjoy making cat, money, and car themed mandalas. When you’ve finished illustrating, erase your pencil lines and share your mandala!

Discussion Questions

What is the difference between organic and geometric shapes?

  • Organic shapes are irregular like paint splatter
  • Geometric shapes have uniform measurements. i.e. Circles, squares, triangles, etc.

What is the diameter of your circle?
Measure a line through the mandala’s center that meets the sides of the outer circle – this is your diameter.

Can you calculate the area of your mandala?
Area= Πr2

What is a pattern?
A sequence in which the elements repeat in a predictable manner

What does 90 degrees look like?
Two lines that form a right angle, such as the corner of a square

How many degrees are in a circle?

What is the degree measure of a straight line?

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