Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Alexander Calder: How Do Balance and Motion Connect Art and Science?
In this lesson, as we learned about the life of Alexander Calder, we connected art and science. We started out by reading "Sandy's Circus" by Tanya Lee Stone. The book is dedicated to "everyone brave enough to follow their own unique path in life." Alexander Calder was an artist, engineer and master of "motion" in his creations. He is the inventor of the "mobile" as well as the creator of many "stabiles" (enormous, bold metal sculptures which stand still). After reading the picture book, we watched the You Tube video from the Whitney Museum of Calder actually performing his circus in 1927.
We first studied the three different types of levers. We used our journals to draw the different levers and label the "fulcrum", "effort" and "load". As we drew and labeled our drawings, it helped us identify the lever as either a first, second or third class lever.
I found an excellent resource for this at ArtsEdge website.
After studying the different levers and experimenting with a few examples, we were ready to build our Calder Mobiles and relate what we had learned to the newly created art.
The book, The Calder Game, by Blue Balliet, has a "Calder Secret Code" which we used to model our letters. Other Calder art examples were welcomed too but the students loved the Calder Secret Code.
I encourged the students to "balance" their mobiles which brought up the discussion of center of balance. We had worked a bit with center of balance earlier in the year.
Other Helpful Websites:
Art for Small Hands
Byrdseed Gifted Blog
Next year, we want to make the wire sculptures by Calder as well.