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Eco-Mandala Part 2​

Visual Arts > Environmental Education – Understanding Life Systems: Cycles


Students will gain knowledge on the history of sand mandalas, a traditional Buddhist practice, and its representation of impermanence, interconnection, and life cycles. Together, we will explore how the properties of our natural environment can support our well-being.


  • Natural objects — leaves, flowers, stones, sticks, etc.
  • Outdoor space.

Activity Notes

  • Reflecting on the mandala created in part 1, notice the unique characteristics and properties of each aspect of the mandala (refer to journal if needed). Demonstrate the emotions or feelings through body movement for each natural object that was collected. For example, if you have used a rock, what kind of expressive movement would a rock portray? Is it fluid and flowing, or sturdy and grounded? Feel free to explore with body movement other properties of our natural environment that you did not collect.
  • Reflect in our journal: After exploring all the characteristics and roles of the items collected, reflect on how these energies could be utilized to help support your well-being in your life. Perhaps the rocks may be representative of having strong boundaries, and sturdy values. Maybe the wind blowing represents your creative nature. A flower may represent your ongoing growth and beauty.
  • HOOK: Watch the time-lapse videos of the creation of a sand mandala.
  • Respond to the videos:
    ○ Why are sand mandalas created and then destroyed upon completion?
    ○ How does this process relate to the cycles within our environment? Society? Within ourselves?
    ○ Can sand mandalas represent our emotional state (as being present, and then letting it go)?

Artist Notes

  • Create a mandala that represents how you are feeling in this current “moment,” using natural materials that are aligned with your current emotional state. Or perhaps you would like to create a mandala that represents what you need in your life right now (e.g., peace, silence, comfort, forgiveness). Notice the properties and whether or not it is balanced or imbalanced. Notice the colours utilized in your background and the items selected. What is the size of your mandala (big or small)? Remember, these moments are always transforming through a cycle of death, rebirth, growth, and releasing phases of life
  • Reflection: Can you relate it with the seasons of the year? What season does your mandala reflect most? How is each season of value within our environment and within our own lives? Give an example.

Sand Mandala Time-Lapse Videos