religious art

Rangoli: Making Art for a Purpose – Lesson Plan

Students create rangoli designs and analyze their work using principles of design.

  • Length: 2 or 3 60-minute lessons
  • Grades: 5-8


  • Students will explore a form of art that is used for religious purposes and as a decorative greeting.
  • Students will discuss how this art form ties in with others practiced by different cultures.
  • Students will work with principles of design (repetition, pattern) to create an artwork that is both functional and decorative.
  • Students will complete a written assignment applying art terms in an art discussion format.

Resource Used:
A Prayer on the Doorstep (Indian Rangoli)
Found On: Visual Arts and Culture

Vocabulary, Materials, and Handouts

balance, color, elements of art, line, pattern, principles of design, shape, symmetrical

TV/VCR or DVD player, sidewalk chalk


  • Rangoli Grids
  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Answer Key

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Instructional Strategies and Activities

Students love an activity that gets them outside. With this lesson you can break your classroom routine and teach important design concepts in visual arts while giving them a firsthand experience in creating an Indian cultural design tradition.

Rangoli is an art form used by people in India.It is a type of decoration drawn on the ground or sidewalk in front of a house. Rangoli has a purpose; it is used to “enlighten” or to welcome Hindu gods to the household.
Mothers in India do this activity every morning and teach rangoli to their daughters. It is a type of folk art that is passed from one generation to another.

Class 1

  1. Initiate a discussion about how we show that people are welcome into our homes (wreaths, welcome mats, seasonal decorations, etc.).

    Key Questions:

    • Do people living in Kentucky use seasonal decorations that have religious meaning? Can you think of examples?
    • What are other things we see outside a house or on a porch that make people feel welcome in our homes?
  2. Use the handout to help students focus on lesson points and to engage them in activities.
  3. Show the “Rangoli” video.
  4. Following the video, discuss what you saw, allowing students to use notes from the handout.
    1. What media were used? (rice flour paste, colored sand, petals, beans)
    2. Have you used sidewalk chalk?
    3. The women in the videotape sometimes had to come up with different ways of making the colors for their design. What do you think you could use to create a welcome sign on a sidewalk outside your school if you did not have chalk?
    4. What is the difference between graffiti you see on buildings and the design these women made on their walkway?
    5. Why do you think the women did not use words or lettering on their symbols?
  5. Demonstrate how to draw dot grid patterns on the handout, then encourage students to try their hand at creating a rangoli design using the dot grid.
  6. Using elements and principles of design, discuss how students repeated elements over and over to create patterns and discuss types of balance. (Most students will probably create symmetrical designs.)

Class 2: 30 minutes+
Using the squares on the school sidewalks, have students partner up and create a welcoming design using a dot grid and symbols. If a student is stuck, use an idea from the handout to help create a rough design. Encourage students to be creative—designs do not have to be symmetrical. It is strongly advised that this activity start at the beginning of class and is completed by the end of that same session, due to students walking on sidewalks and possible weather complications.

Class 3 or Homework
Using the Open Response prompt, students analyze their rangoli creations and consider purposes of art.

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Extensions for Diverse Learners

  • Identified students can create a rangoli classroom design book, start and maintain a rangoli tradition in the school entryway, or teach the lesson to other students.
  • Have a rangoli week with designs posted on each classroom door.
  • Make adaptations for learning according to IEP documentation.

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Writing To Communicate

  • The teacher can adapt the Open Response question for portfolio entry. Suggestions for adaptations: Student writes article for school newspaper on holiday traditions.

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Applications Across the Curriculum


  • Chalk making


  • Geometric patterns

Social Studies

  • Cultures of India—festivals

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Open Response Assessment

You have learned how people in India use art to celebrate religious festivals by creating rangoli designs. In this assignment, you will discuss the rangoli design you created using art vocabulary. You will also explain the purpose of your design and compare the use of rangoli art to how we use seasonal decorations in our country. Use the following guidelines to assist you.


Introduction: Tell your reader what rangoli art is and the purpose of these designs. Be sure to include information about the art:

  • who makes it
  • what time of the day it is made
  • what types of media can be used to produce rangoli designs

Describe: Tell your reader what your design looks like.

  • What type of balance did you use?
  • Describe any patterns you made.
  • What does your design represent?

Comparison: Explain how our seasonal decorations are similar to rangoli designs.

  • Choose a particular season, give examples of decorations we use during that season, and explain what these share with rangoli designs.

Summary: Explain what you have learned about the different purposes of art from this lesson.

Open Response Scoring Guide

4 3 2 1 0
Student follows guidelines completely and demonstrates in-depth knowledge, applies vocabulary correctly, and uses examples that are clear and make connections. Student generally follows guidelines and demonstrates broad knowledge. Student applies the vocabulary and shows a good understanding through supporting examples. Student follows guidelines to a limited degree. Student demonstrates limited knowledge of vocabulary and uses a few supporting examples. Answer does not follow guidelines and is incomplete. No response.

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Support - Connections - Resources - Author

  • The Holiday Spot: Rangoli includes patterns and designs for diwali, background information, and instructions for making a rangoli.
  • Home-Made Chalk Recipe from’s Family Crafts page

Sarah Cobb Spradlin

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K-12English Language Arts and LiteracyMathematicsScienceThe Arts