Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kinetic Art

This week 2nd graders, inspired by the movement of Alexander Calder and the color systems of Steve Roden and F. Hundertwasser, are creating their own art with movable parts.

Starting with 2 rectangles of drawing paper and markers, students drew mini-concentric squares. They just finished a large concentric square project last week, so this was not a new concept.

The one rectangle was folded in half, creating 2 back-to-back squares and they cut the other rectangle in half to a draw on each of the squares. These single squares were eventually folded in half diagonally to create triangles. I asked the children to choose 2 or three colors next to each other on the color wheel for each square.

We bent and shaped 2 wires from which the folded shapes would hang. Balance and Motion is a science concept often studied in 1st or 2nd grade, so this project ties in nicely with other curriculum.

Students punched a hole in the smaller foam core using a push pin.

Once the small wire was pushed through the hole in the smaller, top foam core, kids spread the wires apart in back (like a brad fastener) and glued the 2 foam cores together, sandwiching the wire between the pieces of foam core.

The assemblage was attached to a 6" X 6" board using a small, bent wire and 2 small pieces if foam core. Students colored the 2 pieces of foam core repeating at least one color they had used for their concentric square drawings. They used a push pin to make a hole in the top (smaller) foam. Then they attached one of their larger wires to the small loop, which they used (much like a brad fastener) to insert through the top piece of foam core. We used Glue All to attach the foam core to the backing board.
Here are a few that are drying:


  1. Very nice! I'm supposed to do a 4th grade mobile lesson, but hadn't figured out how yet. This helps.

    1. Thanks. I wish I had had time to do a full out mobile with my fifth graders last rotation. I had a GREAT one planned. Oh, well, maybe next year. Hope to have fun with yours:))

  2. I love the ideas you come up with. As I was looking at the mobiles I wondered, are they suppose to balance or was this a lesson to familiarize them with the concept of balance? I love the idea and thought I might like to try it.
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas.

    1. Thank you:) Before assembling the wires we talked about where the folded rectangle would have to go and where the 2 folded squares would go. Kids readily answered that the folded rectangle was equal to the 2 squares so it would take the 2 squares glued on one wire to balance the folded rectangle glued to the other wire. (I realize this sounds wordy -- I hope it is clear!!) One thing, I did this in one 50 minute class with 2nd graders but net time I will probably take 2 class sessions to do it so that we can spend a bit more time looking at Calder's work. Also, Discovery Education has a good video on Calder. Our school has an account with them so we have access. Good luck if you try it:)