I haven't yet started teaching kids and took advantage of this free time to visit the Orange County Museum of Art (which I just discovered recently via someone else's blog) to see a FABULOUS Alexander Calder exhibit title, Form, Balance, Joy (isn't that a perfect title??).
For a relatively small (which I like) museum, they had quite a few pieces on display. Unfortunately, they didn't allow photography, so I can't show you the terrific mobiles and stabiles I saw. You can see some of them at this link here, but I don't know whether they will keep it up after the close of the exhibition (Sept.4).
Of course, I was totally inspired and came home intent on working some of what I saw into this year's curriculum. So today, as I watched CNN and hope that all of you on the East Coast are safe, I started playing around with 24 gauge florist wire (which was what I happened to have around the house at my fingertips), some plain sewing thread and copier paper from the printer, to see how hard this would be for kids to do. Some of our 2nd graders study Balance and Motion as a Science Unit, so they have a bit of knowledge about counterweights, balance points, etc.
|I started with strips of copy paper -- about 1 and a half inches wide. Then I folded up the bottom corner and cut to make a square. This is a good skill for kids to have for math (geometry).|
|I already had one diagonal fold, so I folded the other diagonal, too, to aid with the thought processes of patterning.|
|I frequently ask students to decide on a color system for their work. For mine, I kept it simple and used primary colors. This first square had all straight lines.|
|This square is the back side of the the one above. Using the same progression of primary colors and a similar pattern, I used curved lines instead of straight.|
|Counterweights are, of course, a consideration in mobile construction, so some of my squares had to be lighter. I designed this on one square and folded it in half diagonally.|
|I cut my wires to about 4"-5", twisted a loop on either end and one as a fulcrum off center.|
|I read somewhere that Calder worked from the inside out as he balanced his pieces. I just started with one wire until it balanced (sort of).|
|Then I added it to the end of my second wire and played around until I got it to balance.|