ALEX Learning Activity


Mouse Paint with Secondary Colors

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Hannah Bradley
System:Dothan City
School:Carver Magnet School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1898
Mouse Paint with Secondary Colors
Digital Tool/Resource:
Color Mixing Activity Worksheet
Web Address – URL:

The teacher will read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh or use an online video to show the book being read aloud. The students will practice mixing primary paint colors to make secondary paint colors. Then, students will use cotton balls to create mouse footprint shapes from secondary paint colors.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 1
Visual Arts
6) Use art vocabulary while creating art.

a. Apply primary and secondary colors in a work of art.

Example: Use Mouse Paint book by Helen Walsh to teach color mixing of primary to achieve secondary colors.

b. Apply line, shape, texture in a work of art.
Line: Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, straight, curved, dotted, broken, or thick/thin.
Shape: Geometric and organic.
Texture: Smooth or rough.

Example: Create a painting inspired by Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work.
Process Components: Reflect, Refine, Continue
Essential Questions:
EU: Artists and designers develop excellence through practice and constructive critique, reflecting on, revising, and refining work over time.
EQ: What role does persistence play in revising, refining, and developing work? How do artists grow and become accomplished in art forms? How does collaboratively reflecting on a work help us experience it more completely?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Complementary colors
  • Contrast
  • Curator
  • Elements of Art
    • Texture
  • Landscapes
  • Portrait
  • Positive/ negative space and shape
  • Principles of design
    • Repetition
    • Variety
  • Secondary colors
  • Still life
  • Technique
  • Venue
Skill Examples:
  • Work with a partner or small group to create an artwork.
  • Use the book Perfect Square by Michael Hall to help "thinking outside the box" skills.
  • Create two-dimensional artworks using a variety of gadgets for printmaking.
  • Use paint media to create paintings of family portraits or a favorite memory.
  • Create three-dimensional artworks such as clay pinch pots or found-object sculptures.
  • View a step-by-step demonstration of an artistic technique.
  • Properly clean and store art materials.
  • Use Mouse Paint book by Helen Walsh to teach color mixing of primary to achieve secondary colors.
  • Create a painting inspired by Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie.
  • Create a "Pop Art" inspired artwork of positive and negative spaces and shapes by using colored paper cut-outs and gluing to different background squares.
  • Make a color wheel and identify the complimentary colors (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple).
  • Draw different forms in the school environment: cones in the gym, cubes in math center, and sphere used for a globe.
  • Create texture rubbings by placing paper over different surfaces and rubbing with a crayon or oil pastel. Use a rough brick wall, a smooth table, bumpy bubble wrap, or soft felt shapes.
  • Use repetition in art by looking at the designs on a shell or the stripes of a zebra for inspiration.
Learning Objectives:

Students will use art vocabulary (primary and secondary colors) while creating art.

Students will apply secondary colors in a work of art. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
During/Explore/Explain, After/Explain/Elaborate

1.  Read the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh or use an online video to show the book being read aloud. 

2. After reading the book or watching the read aloud, review with students what colors the mice mixed to create new colors. As you review this information, identify the primary colors and the secondary colors.

3. Give each student a copy of the digital tool (Color Mixing Activity Worksheet). Each student should have access to the primary paint colors. The students should paint each rainbow shape with the directed primary color. Then, students should mix the primary colors as directed to make the secondary colors. Students can paint the shapes with a cotton swab, a paint brush, or their fingers.

4. Tell students they will make "mouse footprints" with secondary colors. Give each student a blank white sheet of paper. Each student will need at least three cotton balls and access to a paint palette with the three primary colors. Students should first use each cotton ball to create "mouse footprints" with the primary colors by dabbing the cotton balls on the paper. Then, students will use the cotton balls to mix the primary colors to make the secondary colors. Students should then dab the cotton balls with the secondary colors onto their paper, creating "mouse footprints". 

Assessment Strategies:

Check each student's Color Mixing Activity Worksheet to ensure students were able to mix primary colors to create secondary colors.

Check each student's final art piece for use of primary and secondary colors. Ask each student to identify the primary and secondary colors on their artwork.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need to make a copy of the digital tool (Color Mixing Activity Worksheet) for each student. The teacher will need to provide students with primary paint colors: blue, red, and yellow. The students will need a paint palette to mix colors, such as a paper plate or plastic palette. Each student will need three cotton swabs or paint brushes for the initial color mixing activity. Each student will need blank white paper and three cotton balls for the final painting activity.

The teacher may wish to provide cups of water to rinse brushes, wipes to clean hands, or aprons to protect student clothing from paint stains.

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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