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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alexander Calder Kinetic Sculptures

There are just too many good ideas out there! I am constantly seeing great projects and thinking "Yep, I'm gonna do THAT with my students!" Sometimes an idea inspires me to invent a project and other times I keep it "as is." In this case, I had a few different ideas for projects inspired by the mobiles and sculptures of Alexander Calder, but I decided to go with this one from Princess Artypants.



The prep was easy and the supply list basic. I made a very simple poster about Calder and then showed my students a brief video of one of Calder's outdoor sculptures moving in the breeze. We were able to discuss  what makes a piece of artwork a sculpture (3D) and the types of shapes we were seeing in Calder's work (organic versus geometric). We also talked about how the pieces were designed to move, or be kinetic. I had the students select a limited color palette (four colors) and then they started working.

The images are from the web
and cut from some old Art History books I had.

Another element I introduced came from Salamander Art. They suggested using a shape code as published in "The Calder Game," a mystery book by Blue Balliett for children grades 5-8. The code assigns a different Calder-inspired shape to every letter in the alphabet. The older children were fascinated by the code and quickly went to work spelling their name in code on their mobiles. Next time, I might create templates for the shapes in the code...I don't know. I need to think about that further. But the children did love it, so I think my lesson will evolve that way next time!

I have to hand it to Princess Artypants whose photos are nice and clear, these mobiles were hard to photograph. They really did come out nice though--so try the project (or whatever version of Calder mobiles or sculptures you come across!). ENJOY!


1 comment:

  1. Nice job! If you are interested in more information on mobile making, you might find this article on my website to be helpful:

    http://www.the-mobile-factory.com/how_to_make_a_mobile.html

    ReplyDelete

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