Lesson plan for: Exploring Color Basics - Computer Lab

Exploring Color Basics

Submitted by: Anne Rose-Phillips
Lesson: Exploring Color Basics in the Lab:

Grade: 6 - 8



The learner will acquire increased knowledge about the artistic element of color through exploring colors, color systems and relationships.


Key Concepts:

Hue is the name of a color.

Saturation or intensity is the pureness of a color.

Value is the lightness or darkness of a color. Black and white are not part of the color wheel, but are the ends of the value scale.


Computer/TV colors work in a different way: they have different primary colors, red, green, blue,called RGB. These three all mix to white instead of brown or black. Modern printers, including magazine and book printers, computer printers such as ink-jet and laser, and color copiers, use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks for the most accurate color mixing. This is called CMYK or 4-color process.color wheel


Instructional Strategies:

Computer based research. Using multiple intelligences through talking, reading and writing (auditory/verbal), looking and coloring (visual/kinesthetic) and logically presented information in a novel, technological format (computers & animated presentations). Interpersonal intelligence will be required to work successfully in this relatively unfamiliar environment.


Approx length: 1 x 42 min class period (Depending on students’ familiarity with computers, more time might be better, but the lab requires sign up and is shared by all.)


Behavioral Objective:

While viewing specific web sites, the learner will explore color systems on the computer and use information s/he finds to complete a worksheet pdf about those systems.

See IAD's pages devoted to color here and here.


Grading Criteria:

I will be looking for success in accessing information on the computer as well as understanding and application of key concepts for this lesson.


Informal assessment:

Looking for respectful behavior in computer lab and helpful attitudes towards self and classmates in new environment.



  • Computer lab with sufficient computers with Internet browsing software

  • Computer Color worksheets: One with web addresses, and one with color systems diagrams pdf

  • Sorted sets of Colored Pencils.. to color in worksheets (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Red, Green, Blue)

  • Bin or folder to collect worksheets

  • Sign on door to meet in Computer lab [after checking w/6th grade team that they had success meeting there]

Anticipatory set:

[This will be done the day before to prepare them for lab; "The color wheel we are using here [point] was developed by Sir Isaac Newton. Does anyone know who he was?" "The apple guy – actually he discovered many principles of what we now call physics, including how light and color work. Do you know about when he lived?" 1644-1727; optics in 1670-1704] "Nowadays, we have new systems of color. You need to learn about these because, even if you don’t become an artist, and I hope some of you will, you will use at least some of these: TVs, computers, color printers, copiers, cameras, video games, handhelds, etc. Chances are that you will use them more and more as you get older. And guess what? Their displays, or what you see, are all based on the color systems we are going to learn about in the computer lab tomorrow. I am not going to tell you too much, so it will be kind of an answer hunt and we will review the information on another day after you all have been on the web sites."


Talk about behavior expectations: treat equipment gently, no food, no other applications, red cups for questions + ask neighbors, walk quietly in halls to & from, help each other without giving it all away, have fun.


"Remember what we talked about yesterday." Hand out worksheets, tell them to follow directions, then, since our time is limited, I will attempt to get them all on the web site(s) as quickly as possible.


Stated objective:

We are in the computer lab to learn about other color systems including their primary and secondary colors. This is a chance for you to get comfortable using the Internet for educational research purposes.



Get them on computers. Talk through log-in (student/password) then getting on Internet & typing in first web site. No other apps/sites than what’s on handout. Try to keep moving to oversee all students. (Possibly put helper on a computer near students who are less familiar so he can assist them while discovering too). Have them color diagrams, or at least make notes from the first site, then hopefully have time to do some games, and exploration of the other sites I’ve found/listed.



Walk around, answering questions signified by placing a red cup on top of computer, checking on progress and un-sticking kids if necessary. Keep an eye on how they are doing with the worksheets, as a gauge of their understanding. (CFU = Check for understanding)



Have folder to turn in worksheets. Collect colored pencils. Get them to log out in time.

Adaptations: Planning that I may need to spend a little more specific time with certain students, without getting derailed. (Seems to always be the case with computers.)



Diagrams currently have initials as hints; with a more advanced group I would not include those, but I want them to get it accurately and have a reference sheet out of this.


For students with language & cognitive difficulties: Help more with URLs if needed and direct them to the pictures which fill these sites.


For students with greater intellectual thirst:

I’ve given them a bigger list than they will be able to get through in one class. Plus there are scientific links (a lot of this information is fairly scientific) so once the basic systems assignment is complete, at their own pace, students can go in different directions as they are motivated. I will also emphasize extra credit for those who bring in proof that they did explore further on the web.


Those who refuse to stay on task: Give small clear steps and try to get neighbors helping if possible. All kids seem to find computers compelling when there is something new to do. Again, emphasize different sites and animated ones if their interest is quick-moving.



Day1, 7th period: Due to Related Arts team meeting going until 2 min before class started, I could not arrive at lab before kids. I had arranged to share lab, thinking there would be enough computers, but I have more students than usual & also 2 mice were missing (that were there when I left lab in 3rd period). Also clock still an hour off so I had some students sign off too early – general frustration + high levels of 35+ kids + no prep time were challenging.


Next time, do whatever to have 5 min to prepare in lab before students arrive, to get everyone on as smoothly as possible. Also many students didn’t seem to understand that they were supposed to read the sheet & follow the directions. All eventually got on to the site (very particular URL) & got sheets completed. One student really resisted the computers & basically worked at a table. 2 students ended up doubling up & apparently did cooperate very well.


The lesson held up well though. All students (except maybe a couple of kids with special issues, who distracted each other I think) completed sheets & were able to use the hints + animations to figure out the color wheels. We will build on that understanding with the next lessons. Some did get to the game sites & enjoyed the color painting game at the color-cube site. Others were looking at other sites. Many did not keep lists of sites. I will have a review next class to see how they felt about the computer day, and to see how well the info actually is understood.


Directions for the Computer Lab

1. When you arrive, put books quietly on the main tables and find a computer. You should be able to move your mouse > select student then type in raindrop as a password. Anytime: If you have a question, put your red cup on top of your computer. I will come help you as soon as I can. Also, see if your neighbors can help you.

2. At the bottom of the screen click on the compass (Safari) or the blue "e" (Explorer).

3. Click on the link below:


4. Look at this page and click on the buttons to learn about color mixing systems.

5. Use this information to finish the worksheet pdf by coloring in the circles correctly after you find the required information. (I’ve given you lots of hints!)

6. Remember to write the color names and be accurate!

7. When you are finished, turn in your worksheet to the bin from our classroom.

8. Check out these other cool sites about color—check them off if/when you go to them.


Graphic design in an animated site: includes a great section on color (also has perspective, etc.)



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