Colour Theory, Piet Mondrian and Scissor Skills

This lesson was based on Piet Mondrian’s art style. The children watched a YouTube video, to learn about Mondrian and his art. I used the lesson as an opportunity to introduce basic colour theory for some students and reinforce it for others.

Mondrian used black tape to divide geometric shapes. In our lesson I printed graphs on coloured paper to guide the children as they cut out squares and rectangles of various sizes. This scaffolding saved younger children from being frustrated by being required to rule up shapes beyond their skill level. It also saved time and allowed each child to make one primary colour and one secondary colour art piece to reinforce their colour theory understandings.


The lesson process follows:

·      Cut out various sized square and rectangular shapes following guidelines

·      Arrange the shapes non printed side up on A3 black paper

·      Check that black stripes are left between shapes

·      Once happy with the arrangement glue the shapes to the black backing paper.


One was made using only primary colours just like Mondrian. The second was made using secondary colours.


This lesson required the children to use cutting skills. I observed that some children required explicit scissor skill instruction. While I am sure many of us can get along fine without the need to use scissors in our lives for children the benefits go beyond art and craft.

Kimberly M. Wiggins OTR/L, Licensed Occupational Therapist in the article, The Importance of Teaching Your Child How To Use Scissors,  explains scissor skills:

·      Assist to strengthen the small muscles in the hands

·      Develop hand-eye co-ordination

·      Provide opportunities for children to develop bi-lateral co-ordination (doing tasks using both sides of the body at the same time).


The development of these skills assists children with many routine self care skills including dressing, eating, and dental hygiene tasks. Other areas that can be helped include sport and music.


Good scissor skills are also affected by the type of scissors provided for the children, how they sit when cutting and the materials that they are cutting. Younger children do best starting with play dough and as their skills develop new finer textured materials such as foam, card, paper and eventually even tissue paper can be provided for cutting activities.

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Black Forest Primary School

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