Have you tried doing spin art painting yet? In this STEAM lesson, we incorporate colour wheels and colour theory. And, we also include fidget spinners and glitter for extra fun and sparkle!
• Paper Plates
• Fidget Spinners (or paper arrows or dice)
• Spin Art Machine (or Turntable, Lazy Susan, or Salad Spinner)
• Cardstock or watercolour paper (cut in the right size, either square, rectangle, or circle).
• High flow acrylic paints or inks
• Glitter (optional)
Depending on the year level of your students and the time that you have available for this lesson, you can create three different colour wheels:
You can either get the students to paint these paper plate colour wheels or you can paint and prepare them beforehand. You also have the option of adding colour using pre-mixed paints, pencils, inks, or markers or doing a colour mixing exercise.
If you’re getting the students to create these colour wheels in class, you can also talk about fractions and/or measurement of circles.
If you wish to focus on the spin art activity and colour theory part of this lesson, just prepare these colour wheels beforehand.
You can add a triangle shape on one of the tips of the fidget spinner using either a piece of paper or felt (just stick the shape on the fidget spinner with tape), or you can use a removable sticker, masking tape, or washi tape. I opted to use a piece of washi tape.
If you don’t have a fidget spinner or you don’t wish to use one, you can assign a number to each colour instead and use dice to choose your colours.
Alternatively, you can cut an arrow shape out of cardstock, punch a hole in the middle of the paper plate and the edge of the arrow, and attach the paper arrow on to the paper plate using a brad attachment.
Depending on the number of colour schemes you wish to discuss or teach in class, you can divide the paper plate accordingly. There are a number of colour schemes according to colour theory. Here are six of them:
For beginners, I tend to focus on teaching three of these colour schemes: complementary, analogous, and split complementary.
Add another fidget spinner with an arrow in the middle of this paper plate colour schemer.
You can prepare this ahead of class.
Tell the students what the spin art activity is all about. Give the following instructions:
After the students has had a few turns creating a few spin art pieces, talk about the process. Ask questions like:
Depending on the level of the students you’re teaching, you can talk about centrifugal force.
There are many ways you can use your spin art paintings. Some of them include:
Science – Talk about motion, centrifugal force.
Art – Colour theory. Action art.
Mathematics – Fractions. Circle Measurement.
Shai Coggins is a Registered Teacher in South Australia, with a Masters' degree in Teaching and Applied Psychology. She is a practicing artist and a published author. She started Creative STEAM Studio to promote holistic and play-based learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) with a strong literacy focus for kids and families in Adelaide and around the world.