Lesson 12.5: Art Connection

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Sculpture on the Move

Drawings, paintings, and collage—these kinds of art may be hanging on the walls of your school.

Now, the art of a famous sculptor is hanging in a college in New Hampshire. But it does not hang on a wall. It hangs from the ceiling!

Alexander Calder made works of art that look more like toys than sculptures. Not long ago, one of his mobiles was given to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

The mobile's whimsical shapes, made up of bright colors, are held together by wire. Suspended from the ceiling, the shapes on one side of the mobile balance the shapes on the other side. The moving air around the mobile keeps it always on the move.

Another of Calder's mobiles is shaped like a fish. Calder made it from pieces of colored glass, broken plates, and other small things. He arranged the pieces to look like the fish's scales.

You can visit the fish mobile in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Look up high to see the fish with its green bottle-glass eye. Watch it for a while and you will see that it is always moving. Some people even think that this fish seems to be swimming through the air!

Word Wise

Artwork made from paper, fabric, or things glued to a surface: Our class collected teabag tags and used them to make collages.

Person who sculpts, or makes sculptures: Some sculptors use clay or metal to form sculptures of people, animals, or objects.

School for students who have completed high school: After I finish high school, I want to go to college in New York.

Kind of sculpture with moving parts: The baby has a mobile that hangs over his crib.

Funny: Ten clowns popped out of their little car and did a whimsical dance.

Hang: Dad said he would suspend a birdhouse from the big tree in the backyard.

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Compare these two vocabulary words: collage and college

You can see that these words are spelled almost alike. They are just one letter apart.

Work with a partner and look up each word in a dictionary. Say each one aloud. Do they sound alike? (You may need to ask an adult to help you say them correctly.)

Now use your dictionary to find three other word pairs that are just one letter apart. Can you think of any without using a dictionary?

Data Hunt

You read about Calder's mobiles. Now make a classroom mobile, using objects from around your classroom.

You will need:

  • plastic drinking straws
  • paper clips
  • scissors
  • tape
  • string or thread
  • construction paper
  • scale
  • ruler
  1. Choose four classroom objects, such as a calculator, that are less than one foot in length. Measure the weight and length of each item and record your measurements on a piece of paper.
  2. Cut four pieces of string to match the lengths of the objects you measured.
  3. Draw a picture of each object on construction paper. Label the drawing with the name of the object, its length and its weight. For example:
    • Calculator Length = 5.5 inches; Weight = 46 grams
  4. Cut out each picture. Attach the string of the appropriate length to each picture with a paper clip.
  5. Make the “bones” of your mobile.
    • Slide three paper clips onto a straw.
    • Hold the straw sideways. Move the middle clip to the center of the straw. Move each of the other two clips toward an end of the straw. Do this with two straws.
  6. Link your straws together. Hold the straws together to form an X. Tape the straws together in the center. Attach a string to the middle of the X.
  7. Attach each picture to the mobile. Clip the ends of the strings with pictures on them to the ends of the mobile. Display your mobile by hanging it from the ceiling.