Medicine Wheel

Lesson submitted by Darilynn Ronn (Art teacher) of Northeast Range School.

We will be making a Medicine Wheel. They will complete this project after an introduction/discussion about the four seasons (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer), and the four directions (North, South, East, West).

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


This lesson will be introduced as an extension to the morning routine during calendar time at the carpet area. As we are going through naming the months of the year we will add each season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). Ask the children to look outside and describe/discuss what they "see" (use their 5 senses) changing in nature. Show the students an example of an Ojibwe Medicine Wheel and how it depicts the four seasons (explain what each of the 4 different colored sections mean/represent). Teach the children the Ojibwe vocabulary. As an on-going extension, explain to the class that they will also be making their own poem book with a special art activity to show each of the four seasons and also add the Ojibwe words to it.


To help the students make their own Medicine Wheel correctly, each part will be demonstrated separately step by step. The supplies will also be given to them in the order as needed to help them be successful at completing this project.We also briefly talk about the multiple meanings that the medicine wheel represents; the various renderings out of materials, the places medicine wheels exist, and the many interpretations of the four quadrants (directions, seasons, medicinal herbs, colors of people, animals, precious metals, etc).


  1. Give each student a paper plate and a white construction paper circle (they will use this as the "pattern" to make the four different colored triangular pie-shaped sections).
  2. Show the class how to make the white circle into 4 equal parts (in 1/2's , then 1/4's....fractions of a whole!!!).
  3. Next, the class will use one of the pattern 1/4 pieces to trace onto some black, red, and yellow construction paper and then cut out each traced piece.
  4. They will then take the 4 cut out 1/4's of white, black, yellow, and red and glue then onto the paper plate.
  5. Demonstrate this using the terms North (white piece at the top of the plate), East (red piece to the right), South (yellow piece at the bottom), and West (black piece to the left).
  6. Next, the teacher will make 3 hole punches at the bottom of each students plate so that the pipe cleaners can be added.
  7. Have the students twist on 3 colored pipe cleaners.
  8. Students will then get to select pony beads to create a pattern and add onto the pipe cleaners -twist closed. Finally, add a feather through the beads at the bottom.
  9. Have the students label each section of the Medicine Wheel with the English and Ojibwe words for each season.

The other side of the plate can be done the same way or colored. Students can make a drawing of the animal that represents each of the 4 different colored sections (white/north-buffalo; red/east-eagle; yellow/south-mouse; black/west-bear).


Have the students display/show, share, and describe their created Medicine Wheel if they wish. Review the Ojibwe vocabulary throughout the year as each season changes. When we do the animal research reports in April/May, refer back to the animals that were represented for each section of the Medicine Wheel.


Students will be assessed informally through observation and on their participation during discussion times and the project activity.

Vocabulary Words


See the Ojibwe color wheel lesson for additional medicine wheel resources and for ways to adapt to older students.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards




Social Studies