So, what green do you mean?

Green is my favorite color. Mostly because, in my eyes, I believe it to be like no other hue on the spectrum. Green is never considered blue, nor yellow. But orange can labeled as tomato or even yellow-gold. And purple, well add a drop to many of blue and it becomes indigo. Now, Green, this shade has so many possibilities that it is a natural phenomenon. We witness it all around us in nature everyday. Oh, oh, and oh: If you feel the same way about green as do it, check out this post from NPR about green pigment or lack there of in animals, How Animals Hacked the Rainbow and got Stumped on Blue.


To kick off this journey, I picked up my second graders and we embarked on an outdoor scavenger hunt for specimens of green nature. Back in the studio, we arranged them over white paper and compared and contrasted their hue. I asked my artists-slash-scientists: “How many different shades of green live in our world?” We had a mission and so we gathered the appropriate tools and materials to collect our data.


When we paint, we are only given the primary colors, white, black, brown, magenta and turquoise. We use squeeze bottles on white palette trays to mix. We practice being mindful of the amount of paint and palette space we use, as not to waste, but we also keep an open mind and add new colors to a pre-existing mixture in order to “witness a new hue”.

color recipe

We document every shade we invented by painting a swatch on a page of our accordion-style book. Alongside our mixture, we include the color recipe that helped us reach our destination. We agreed on a system of measure to align our helpings of color. During the next class, we swapped recipe books and tested each others recipes.

A close friend and former colleague uses the color recipe format to help her students explore color mixing with primary colors. How can you utilize the idea of a color recipe book?

Next Up: Color Wheels. How do color wheels help us understand how colors are born?
Sneak a peek at this post about innovative color wheels.

Have a colorful day,

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