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Mola Magic

Crawling geckos! Jumping geometrics! Without fabric or sewing a stitch, design a traditional appliqué-like mola using the amazing technology of Crayola® Color Switchers™ Markers!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. A mola is a traditional blouse worn by Kuna women. These blouses are made of two panels that are hand stitched with intricate designs. Mola designs include everything in a Kuna Indian’s life, including the natural world, dreams, imaginary monsters, geometric shapes, and contemporary imagery brought in by tourists. Invite students to learn more about these designs and the culture that is best known for them. Organize text resources and teacher-approved Internet web sites for students to view during this research.
    2. Bring the class together to discuss what was learned during their research. What connections can students make with their own lives?
    3. To create personal mola replicas, students use Crayola Washable Markers to draw the outline of an animal, person, or imaginary creature in the center of white construction paper. In the spaces around the outline, draw additional creatures. Leave space around each drawing. Fill smaller spaces with simple shapes, such as geometric shapes.
    4. To create the mola effect, outline each drawing with different colors until the bands touch. Remind students that their patterns should be filled with color.
    5. When the entire pattern is filled with color, students make these patterns look like stitching by using dashed lines made with a dark colored marker, for an effect similar to the cloth molas.
    6. Students mount their molas on a contrasting color of construction paper with Crayola Glue Sticks. Include in a display of traditional textile designs from many parts of the world.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    MATH: Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: M is for Mola Art: A Kuna Indian Alphabet of Quilted Folk Art by Susan Striker; The Mola: Traditional Kuna Textile Art by Edith Krouch; Magnificent Molas: The Art of the Kuna Indians by Michael Perrin

    Encourage students to make a mola using a pattern one would typically find in a traditional Kuna mola. Students research the image and share with classmates its meaning to the culture.

    Contemporary molas typically use subject matter that has been brought to the islands by tourists. Students make a mola using modern symbols. Contemplate what type of tourists may have brought this symbol to the islands and why.

    Students suggest a new symbol for a mola. What would this symbol mean? How would it look? Create the symbol for classmates.


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