Search Menu


This site is available only to JEA members. Please log in below.

Lesson: Colors Make the World Go Round


Colors Make the World Go Round


A lesson exploring the spectrum of colors and effective color combinations


Students will create their own color wheels to demonstrate their understanding of color values and where they fall in the spectrum of light.


  • Students will arrange colors correctly in a color wheel.
  • Students will provide a correct sequence for colors based on position and color combinations.
  • Students will create new colors by mixing base colors.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W-9-10.2d Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of a subject.
CCSS.ELA.Literacy.L.9-10.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
CCSS.ELA.Literacy.L.9-10.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA.Literacy. L.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills — Student Outcomes

Learning and Innovation Skills Creativity and Innovation
Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)
Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts
LIfe and Career Skills Initiative and Self-Direction
Monitor, define, prioritize and complete tasks without direct oversight
Information, Media and Technology Skills Information Literacy
Access information efficiently (time) and effectively (sources)
Evaluate information critically and competently
Manage the flow of information from a wide variety of sources
Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information.
ICT LiteracyUse technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate and communicate information
Use digital technologies (computers, PDAs, media players, GPS, etc.), communication/networking tools and social networks appropriately to access, manage, integrate, evaluate and create information to successfully function in a knowledge economy.


150 minutes


Quiz: Color Terms and Combinations and Key

Computers with desktop publishing software (or white paper with colored pencils)

Lesson step-by-step

1. Tap prior knowledge — 10 minutes

Engage students in a brief review the different color profiles and color combinations at the beginning of class. Address any questions students have about the previous lesson.

2. Quiz — 20 minutes

Administer the Color Terms and Combinations quiz (answer key provided).

3. Application — 60 minutes

Using their knowledge of color profiles and combinations, students will create their own color wheel. Students will start with the colors cyan, magenta and yellow. They will start by placing these in the correct position within their color wheel design. Next, they will create the secondary colors for their color wheel. Finally, students will create tertiary colors to place in the proper position on the color wheel. Tertiary colors need to include two secondary colors mixed together, and a primary and secondary color mixed together. The shape of the color wheel is up to the students, but it needs to be a shape that will clearly demonstrate the colors required above. After completing the color wheel, students will submit their work to be evaluated using the rubric provided.

4. Closure — 10 minutes

Create an exit ticket, journal reflection or short discussion requiring students to answer the following questions:

  • What colors did you use for secondary colors?
  • What colors did you combine for tertiary colors?
  • What colors were created as the tertiary colors?
  • Which colors are analogous?
  • Which colors are complementary?

5. Homework

Assign students to research what emotion is associated with each of the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet (purple), as well as the official school colors if not included on the list.


Quiz: Color Terms and Combinations

Color Wheel


Fair(0 point) Good(5 points) Excellent(10 points) Total points
CMYK colors Cyan, magenta and yellow are not all included, and are not placed correctly. Cyan, magenta and yellow are used but may not be placed correctly. Cyan, magenta and yellow are placed correctly. ____ / 10
Secondary colors Secondary colors are not all included, and are not placed correctly. Secondary colors are included but may not be placed correctly. Secondary colors are placed correctly. ____ / 10
Tertiary colors Tertiary colors are not all included, and are not placed or mixed correctly. Tertiary colors are included but may not be placed or mixed correctly. Tertiary colors are placed correctly. ____ / 10
Design and color placement Most colors are placed incorrectly, and the design does not fit the color placement, inadequately demonstrating each color combination. Most colors are placed correctly, and the design somewhat fits the color placement to demonstrate each color combination. All colors are placed correctly, and the design fits the color placement to demonstrate each color combination. ____ / 10
Total points ____ / 40