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    Beginning color lesson and activities

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    What is color?

    Where does it come from?

    How is color studied?

    How is color mixed for painting from the primary hues?

    What are the common color schemes?

    What activities can I practice to help me understand color?

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    Solution Preview

    Please see the attachment for a tutorial lesson on color, with suggested student activities for practice, including scoring rubrics. There are 2 formats for this lesson to facilitate your download: one is a Microsoft Word document, and the other is a PDF (.pdf files require the use of free Abobe Reader software from the Web).

    Definition: Color is a wavelength of light.

    White light contains all of the color wavelengths. You can see this demonstrated naturally when there is a lot of humidity, or water, in the air - like there is right after it has rained. sometimes, when conditions are right, the water in the air breaks up the different wavelengths so you can see them all separately. This is what happens when you see a rainbow. You may have performed this experiment in Science class using a light and a prism, which breaks the light into its wavelengths just like water does. Notice the next time you see one, that the colors are always in the same order in a rainbow, from the longest wavelength on top, to the shortest wavelength on the bottom.

    Notice the order of the colors:
    Blue and
    Violet. They are ALWAYS in this order.

    Different hues, or colors, are a result of different light wavelengths. Red is the longest wavelength humans can see, and violet is the shortest wavelength humans can see. There are other wavelengths that humans cannot see, but some animals can see.

    The colors that you see are because the object you are looking at is absorbing all the other wavelengths, and is reflecting the wavelength you can see back to your eyes.

    This means that a red shirt is absorbing all the colors except for red. The red is reflecting back to your eyes, which is why the shirt looks red.

    ALL light wavelengths


    This is why you want to wear a WHITE shirt on very hot days - because a white shirt is reflecting all of the wavelengths back to your eyes, and absorbing none of them. That makes the shirt cooler. A BLACK shirt would be absorbing all of the wavelength energy, and that makes you feel hotter.
    One way that artists study how color works using paint is to use a chart called a COLOR WHEEL. A color wheel organizes the colors, and allows you, the student, to see how they mix with each other and interact, color to color, when you paint with them.

    To mix the colors that will fill up a color wheel chart, you must start with three colors. These are the colors that you must get from nature - you cannot mix them, you must start with them. Because they are the first colors you have to have, they are called PRIMARY colors. The three primary colors are red, yellow and blue.


    blue yellow

    With these three primary colors, plus black and white, you can mix any other colors you might need. The color wheel chart shows you how the primary colors mix ...

    Solution Summary

    Beginner's lesson on color, the color wheel and how colors are mixed from the primary hues, what color is and where it comes from (how it is perceived), common color schemes, and activities (with scoring rubrics) to practice using color for greater understanding of concepts presented.