Intentionally Placed Disharmony
in Complementary Contrasts

With this teaching unit, the Pelikan coloring concept offers you a great topic for grades 1 to 4. The materials can be combined variously to provide you the opportunity of creating your own lesson plan.

Further material for this article.

Intentionally Placed Disharmony in Complementary Contrasts


Teachers' Information

Starting point of this topic is the 12-color wheel. As shown in our example with the colors blue and yellowish orange, a great contrasting effect can already be created by using two complementary contrast colors in one picture.

The additional color, the so called "intentionally placed disharmony in complementary contrasts", extends the act of working with complementary colors considerably. Two additional colors (red violet and bluish green in terms of a schematic triangle) nullify the previous contrasting effect.

In this example, blue and yellowish orange are complementary to each other, whereas the combination of bluish green and red violet seem rather disharmonious. However, all four colors combined achieve a very harmonious effect, which you can see on the shown color card.

This systematic can be used for different colors of the color wheel, as well. This way, there are 12 different color combinations with four colors each within the 12 color circle. All color cards are available for download:



Material for the Teaching Unit "Intentionally Placed Disharmony in Complementary Contrasts"

All materials at a glance:

  • Exercises for color perception
  • Color cards
  • Coloring template "chameleon" and "continue to color" templates
  • Additional task: Jungle Composition

The following lesson contents of the different grades should serve you as an orientation. If your, e. g. second grade students, need more material, just work through the exercise on color perception with them. Combine our materials and choose "your own" course of the lesson.


1st and 2nd Grade

You may offer you students 12 different color combinations of which they should choose one. You can, however, also reduce the number and, in doing so, adapt to the children's needs. Afterwards, the students paint their pictures in the given colors. While doing so, they can orientate themselves by our coloring template "chameleon".


3rd and 4th Grade

Beginning this teaching unit with an exercise on color perception will motivate the students in the next step to find a certain pattern of the color composition in the color wheel. Different options are imaginable:

  • Explain the topic using the color wheel and let the students find further color combinations.
  • Each student chooses their own color combination from the color cards and colors their own picture.
  • Four colors (one color card) are chosen previously and the students find further examples in the color wheel (complementary colors + disharmonies).

Then the students color their chameleon.



Exercise on Color Perception

To give the students an easy start into this teaching unit, begin with an exercise on color perception. For this, present seven different color cards to the students. Now let them find the card that does not fit to the rest of the cards.

Talk with your students about why the marked card (arrow) has a different color effect compared to the others. A glance on the 12 color wheel will quickly lead to the answer. The two colors magenta and red-violet of the marked card are right next to each other on the color wheel; each remaining color combination is farther apart. The colors of the marked card barely form a contrast, the other combinations, however, do.


Color Cards

With the color wheel, you can explain your students the concept of placing disharmony in complementary contrasts intentionally. Our template might help you. All in all, there are 12 color combinations with 4 colors each.

Based on the color wheel, there are 4 colors. A total of 12 color cards are available. Simply cut them out of the template.

Hint: By printing out and laminating the color cards, you can use them in every lesson again and again.

Coloring Template and Continue to Color Templates

About the chameleon

  • There are many different kinds, most of them live in Africa.
  • Chameleons live on trees
  • Their typical claws and the curly tail are used to hold on to tree limbs.
  • The chameleon can change its color, depending on its surrounding area - camouflage.

The students should try to draw their chameleon on their own. If single students do need some help, our coloring template might be of a support to them. We offer you different templates for the chameleon. On one template, the animal is presented in whole, the others provide only single parts of the animal. They can be used by the students to complete the drawing of the chameleon on their own.

Differentiated coloring templates: from left: Complete chameleon (single raster fields also usable as drawing to be continued), only middle part, front and back body part

Hint: These continue to draw templates (raster) can also be used as puzzle pieces!

Additional task: Jungle Composition

After the students have drawn and painted their chameleon, they can decorate their picture with jungle elements. For this, let them mix the colors orange blue, orange green, orange violet, as shown in our example earlier, and they will receive their own jungle colors. To support your students, you may also give them our templates for blossoms and leaves, which can be painted and glued onto the picture.

The jungle parts are painted with the mixed colors and then are glued onto the picture.