PAINTING MY WONDERINGS – Medicine Wheel, Thoughts

Students create a mixed media artwork using watercolour paints, watercolour pencils, crayons, and fine black markers as they reflect on the mental, thinking aspect of the Medicine Wheel and the life experiences that inspire learning, questioning, and wondering.

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PAINTING MY WONDERINGS – Medicine Wheel, Thoughts


  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count
  • Crayola Watercolour Pencils - 12 Count
  • Crayola Construction Paper Crayons - 16 Count
  • Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count
  • Water Containers
  • Paper Towels


Step 1
  1. Begin with a circle and divide it into 4 equal sections.
  2. Label each of the quadrants:
    ​- in the east is spiritual energy (our spirit);
    - in the south is emotional energy (our hearts, our feelings);
    - in the west is physical energy (our bodies, our actions);
    - in the north is mental energy (our thoughts, our thinking).
  3. Focus on the mental aspect of human beings.
  4. Reflect on how you learn.
    - Close your eyes and focus on the different learning experiences in your life.
    - What images come to your mind?
    - What questions do you wonder about?
  5. Write words and draw images about your mind, your thinking, in the northern quadrant of the medicine wheel.
  6. Include life experiences that help you learn and inspire your curiosity.
Step 2
  1. Brainstorm words and images connected to the mental aspect of your life.
  2. Use a variety of shapes to express the thinking area of your life.
  3. Reflect on how you learn, and the questions you wonder about.
    - What life experiences have inspired your learning and wondering?
  4. Reflect on each of the 4 elements (fire, air, earth, and water).
  5. Discuss what each element represents.
  6. Brainstorm questions, wonderings about each of the elements.
  7. Draw an image to represent each question, each wondering.
Step 3
  1. Use watercolour paints to paint a background for your artwork.
  2. Begin by dividing the watercolour paper into 4 sections.
  3. Choose colours to represent each of the 4 elements.
  4. Cover your blank paper with water, then begin to add colours to each section, for examples, Fire – yellow, orange, red, Air – purple, blue, Earth – brown, green, yellow, Water – blue, green.
  5. Add salt to an area to change the way the colours bleed together.
  6. Make sure you use a lot of water with your artwork.
Step 4
  1. Use watercolour pencils to draw an image to represent each of the 4 questions, wonderings you had when reflecting on the 4 elements.
  2. Create your drawings using a variety of colours that contrast against the background painting.
  3. Make sure the 4 images are balanced on the whole paper.
Step 5
  1. Use a paintbrush to paint clear water into each image you drew.
Step 6
  1. Use crayons to clarify your images.
  2. Add form to your shapes and emphasize different areas of each image.
Step 7
  1. Use a fine black marker to identify each element (earth, fire, air, water).
  2. Write a question, a wondering you are curious about for each of the elements.
Step 8
  1. Make sure you have written your wonderings in a way that connects each of the four sections in your artwork.
  2. Create balance with both your images and words.
  3. View your work with fresh eyes.
    - What life experiences inspired you to wonder about the things in your picture?
    - What worked well in your artwork?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?

    - What would you change or do differently next time?
  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Science,

    • Visual Arts,

    • First Nations, Metis, Inuit

  • Grades:

    • Grade 3,

    • Grade 4,

    • Grade 5,

    • Grade 6,

    • Grade 7,

    • Grade 8

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