Description of the Unit – The Mola, a traditional cloth worn by the Kuna (from the tiny San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama), are quite brightly colored, in contrasting patterns of various shapes, and in the center depicting what is typically an animal, plant or person of special interest to the Kuna. Students will explore the tradition of Molas, noting the use of contrasting colors, abstract patterns as well as noting the contrasting organic shapes of the main subject to the mostly geometric shapes of the background patterns. Students will use their understanding of these elements to create their own interpretation of the Mola in colored construction paper.
Goals: Students should…
- What a Mola is
- The classification of complimentary colors
- What makes a pattern
- Where the Mola comes from
- How a Mola is used
- The difference between geometric and organic shapes
Be able to:
- Identify a Mola
- Create contrast to support a focal point
- Create a pattern out of a variety of lines and/or shapes
Objectives – Students will: exercise their fine motor skills as they use scissors to cut images and shapes that they will glue onto a colored format, emphasizing color, pattern and shape.
Resources and materials –
- Examples of Molas
- Multicolored construction paper
Questions – (While observing traditional Molas)
- Where is Panama?
- Who are the Kuna?
- When did Molas first appear? Why?
- What do you notice about (this) Mola?
- What do you notice about the colors?
- What do you notice about the shapes?
- Do you notice any patterns? Where?
- What animal is this?
Evaluation – Did students:
- Use contrasting colors to create a focal point?
- Use a variety of shapes to create patterns?
- Thoughtfully fill the negative space on their format?
- Group discussions
- Oral responses to essential questions
- Personal focus and risk-taking
The following are various 4th grade student Molas. I love how very different each one is, reflecting the many personalities among these kids. Apologies for the shadows on some of these. We did these while sheltering in place during Covid 19, so the students were responsible for taking their own photos to post on our assignment-sharing platform.