Lesson Plan

Nature Mandalas

Nature can teach us about impermanence and appreciation of the present moment. In this lesson, students will explore impermanence in nature, and they'll create their own nature mandala that reflects impermanence and nature's gifts.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to create a nature mandala and explore the concept of impermanence.


(15 minutes)
Mandala Coloring
  • Bring the class outside to an area where they can collect items from nature and create their mandalas.
  • Join them together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Invite them to calm their bodies and take a few deep breaths.
  • Have students notice the clouds.
  • Ask them, "What is happening to the clouds?" Listen to their responses, and explain that the clouds are moving and changing.
  • Have them notice the air or wind on their skin.
  • Ask, "What is happening to the wind?" Listen to their responses, and explain that the wind is moving and changing.
  • Ask the class, "What else in nature is created and then changes?" Build upon their answers, then offer some examples that were not shared, such as leaves on the trees in autumn, rain, or sounds that come and go.
  • Ask, "Is there anything in nature that stays around forever?" Explain that almost nothing in nature stays the same forever; everything is always changing!
  • Share with students that this concept is called impermanence, which means that nothing is permanent, or around forever, and things are always changing.
  • Ask them to repeat the word "impermanence" after you.
  • Open to some pages of The Mandala Book to show some examples of mandalas.
  • Pause and ask the class, "What do you notice? What do you wonder?"
  • Explain that these images are called "mandalas."
  • Show the front cover of the book.
  • Point to the word "Mandala," and ask them to repeat the word.
  • Tell students that mandalas are created from items in nature. Then, they are left out in nature as a reminder that nothing is permanent.
  • Ask, "What word do we use when we talk about how nothing is permanent?" Have the class repeat the word "impermanence."