Wednesday, October 30, 2019

4th grade Calder Inspired Circus Sculptures

Each year my elementary school starts the year with a theme and this year the theme is circus! I like to use that theme as a starting point for each grade's first art classes of the year. This year my 4th graders looked at Alexander Calder's circus and then had choice of a whole bunch of materials to use for their own circus sculptures.

To begin the lesson, I read the book "Sandy's Circus" to the students. I borrowed it from my local library, but here's the Amazon link if you'd like to buy it. 
(If you purchase with my link I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

After reading the book, I showed the students part of the following video where Alexander Calder performs his circus!
I pulled out a tub of pipe cleaners to serve as our wires. In my cabinet I also found buttons, feathers, sequins, beads, other "crafty" materials that were donated, and found objects. I put the tubs out on the table and the students were able to take what they needed buffet style. 
I cut pieces of cardboard down for bases and showed how to attach things by poking holes, making slots, using buttons, etc. Of course students invented their own methods and some things required glue.
Feathers make for very fluffy lions.
While some of the sculptures are more abstract than others, I saw a lot of problem solving and experimentation, which I think is more important than perfectly polished artworks.
Here is the display. There is even someone on a flying trapeze hanging from a support!

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