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Combining Art and Math - Mandala

We learned about geometry by creating rotationally symmetric Mandala artwork.

In Germany Mandala coloring books such as Das große Mandala-Malbuch für Vorschulkinder are commonly sold at toy stores. They can also be found searching the web for mandala art for kids. After selecting a mandala from our book we worked with a compass and strait edge to recreate it.

Last year my eleven year old worked through the first half of the book Mathematics in Nature, Space and Time (Waldorf Education Resources. She used mechanical drawing techniques to create math art designs. From this book I was familiar with how to create a line perpendicular to a given line and bisect an angle using a compass. I walked my six year old through both of these techniques while doing this activity.

Several circles were created with the compass.

The flowers were created using stencils.

Here's my finished design.

Here is my daughter's almost finished design.

During the process she learned many geometrical words and their meanings.
• The compass was set to the radius of the circle.
• We drew a line perpendicular to our initial line.
• We bisected the 90 degree angle to create a 45 degree angle.
• Four partial circles were created tangent to the center circle.
I'm sure she didn't absorb the meaning of all of these words but they have now been introduced to her. She enjoyed this activity, so we are likely to repeat it in the future with a different mandala and with practice these words and mechanical drawing techniques will be easily understood.

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