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Concept for art class: painting red-green eye test

Many only recognize a red-green color weakness when they take the eye test for the driver's license. It usually goes undetected at school. However, this can lead to disadvantages for students in practical everyday life, because statistically speaking, 9% of all boys are affected by a red-green weakness.

The following is a concept for a teaching topic for the Subject art presented. It can be used in an interdisciplinary manner because it overlaps with the Subjects biology (visual perception, eye), Physics (optics) and Ethics / Social Studies (different perception). The topic is:

"Design and paint a red-green color vision test"

This teaching unit can playfully, artistically and pedagogically address the topic of red-green weakness in the students. It is also suitable for students with red-green weaknessesto recognizewhat when dealing with them and the evaluation of her colored work is very helpful.

  • grade: from 7th grade
  • Number of participants: normal class size (up to 30 students)
  • material: Paper, pencil, ruler, opaque paints, brushes (standard material)
  • Duration: approx. 3 - 4 double lessons
  • Created by: Martin Missfeldt (artist, Berlin, operator of this site)

Introduction: About red-green weakness (biology)

First a few pointers on the subject: approx. 9% of the male population in Germany are affected by a red-green weakness, but only approx. 0.8% of the female population. The reason for this is that the predisposition to red-green color weakness on the gender specific X chromosome lies. The "crossingover" can lead to a wrong combination of genes leading to a decreased reaction sensitivity the red or green receptors on the retina. You can then only see red or green tones with reduced intensity. If one of the genes is completely absent (and consequently no receptors for the light of this wavelength are formed), one speaks of Red-green blindness (after the discoverer John Dalton as Daltonism designated.)

Red-green weak eyesight or blindness is always innate and does not increase or decrease over time. It affects around 9% of all men and around 0.8% of women, so it is significantly more common than yellow-blue visual impairment or complete color blindness.

Knowledge of the biological requirements is not mandatory. However, it makes sense to deal with the topic in parallel in biology lessons.

Ethics and social studies lessons

Statistically there is in almost all school classes one or more children who are affected by a (latent) red-green weakness. The topic "red-green-weakness-eye test" is therefore "from life" and for children and adolescents very specific. You can exchange ideas with your classmates. The aspect "different perceptions" can be parallel or afterwards in ethics or. Social studies lessons are addressed. A genetic difference that cannot be seen in the other offers a lot of leeway for topics such as "empathy", "tolerance", "limits of perception" etc.

Painting red-green eye test pictures (tutorial)

The decisive factor in this teaching unit is the creative conception, the preliminary drawing, the painting and differentiation of the color tones in the Subject art. The pictures to be painted consist of dots of different sizes, which are kept in shades of green and red (an extension of the subject to other colors is conceivable).

Step 1: Sketch a motif

At the beginning the children should a motive think. The important thing is that it is a simple form. You have to remember that you will then create the image from points. Thin lines are therefore problematic. It should be a as flat, black form as possible act. As an example in the following a St. Nicholas house (which you could offer the children as a template).

Step 2: Prepare the paper

The picture should be on paper. DinA4 or DinA3 are suitable formats. First, a 3 cm wide frame should be drawn on the sheet.

Step 3: Draw the contours

In the third step, the prepared motif is transferred to the sheet, but only as outlines. This contour has to be erased later, so it should be drawn in pencil, if possible not too vigorously.

Step 4: Create circles

Now the most important work begins: creating the circles. They can either be drawn with a pair of compasses or with a circular stencil. For the result, it is good if the circles are of different sizes, but it doesn't have to be that way. First of all, it is recommended to first fill the sheet with relatively large circles (approx. 4 - 5 cm in diameter).

It is crucial that the circles do not (!) Go over the pre-drawn contour. They are allowed to touch the contour as much as possible, but not to overlap. In addition, the circles should not touch each other.

Then the sheet is filled with increasingly smaller circles.

There is actually no smallest size. One should keep in mind, however, that the circles must not touch each other - and that the smaller the circles, the more time-consuming it is to fill the sheet.

When the circle size is at least 0.5 cm, the children should stop. The sheet (here in the example initially only half filled) then looks something like this:

Step 9: paint the basic colors

When the sheet has been sketched out, you can start coloring. Simple opaque colors (standard school shower box) are suitable. First you should use a light green (possibly mixed with yellow) and an orange. The circles that lie within the pre-drawn motif get one color, all circles outside the motif get the other.

Step 10: Erase the preliminary drawing

When the entire sheet is painted in this way, you can do the (carefully) erase the drawn lines. Here is the example image:

Step 11: add color nuances

In the last work step, which can take a double hour, the points are then partially lightened and partially darkened. The students should primarily use yellow to lighten and blue or red to darken.

In this step, the students can also experiment a lot with colors, contrasts and color nuances and learn a lot from experience.

Notes for the evaluation

The following can be assessed:

  • Originality of the motif
  • Cleanliness when sketching (drawing craft)
  • Cleanliness when coloring the circles (handicraft painting)
  • Color feel when differentiating the color tones (artistic skills)
  • Quality of the overall result

The theme is well suited for Exhibitions, as it stimulates the exchange among the audience.

Outlook - how can it go on?

The "point pictures" open up the possibility of dealing with impressionistic pictures. Especially the "scientific approach" of George Seurat or Paul Signac is obvious for comparison. Via pointilism you can then move to impressionism, for example Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh come. In higher grades, the difference between medical images and works of art can be discussed. Why is one an art and the other a scientific image?

The pictures themselves offer many opportunities for exchange. You can interpret them as artistic works and / or as medical color tables and also address the interpretation possibilities themselves. The evaluation criteria can be addressed.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the concept. More about my artistic work.

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