Exercises are "supposed to" teach skills to use within a project, and a color wheel is "supposed to" teach them how to mix and blend colors, and maybe tints and shades as well.
Why not "just do it?" Force kids into mixing and blending right on the project. That's what I did here for my Art 1 students.
We started by coming up with 9 icons or "emojis" that show off a part of their lives or personality. They needed to be simple, bold, and shape-based so they could be colored in.
We chose 4 of the best ones and put them on a 12 x 12 in. paper after dividing it into 4 parts with rulers. (Yup we measured, and used our ruler skills) The icons were drawn in and the 4 squares were divided in half again diagonally with rulers, and everything traced with sharpie pens.
I provided some pre-cut black construction paper triangles that were glued into one corner of their choice. We used white colored pencils to draw back on the black area the lines we obscured to complete the drawing portion.
Though you could use many different media with this approach, I chose oil pastel and tortillions to blend colors.
Next came my list of rules for students to follow that later became the grading rubric.
1. Starting with black, color in each slice a color of the spectrum, in order, ending with a white slice next to black. They could go clock-wise or counter-clock-wise.
2. Primary slices needed to incorporate analogous colors.
3. Secondary colors needed to incorporate complimentary colors.
4. Black and white could be added to any slice to help because they are not colors but tints and shades.
5. The black and white slices could only use black, white and mixed gray.
6. All slices must show color blending.
When the color was the same both in the icon and it's background, I encouraged students to differentiate colors when they came near an edge of an icon so that it would pop out visually.
Those who finished early were encouraged to add details by scratching into the oil pastels with designs and textures.
I am pleased with the results, as were students who had something that taught them to blend and mix colors and was tied to who they are.