Kinetic Sculpture

'The difference was that we learned from experiments...'

Course Description

In this course, students will be introduced to key concepts and skills of kinetic sculpture, including balance, gearing, energy sources and design-oriented thinking. They will use the work of Alexander Calder, George Rhodes, Anne Lilly and Arthur Ganson as examples of various forms of moving sculpture. Each day they use the principles they learn as the basis for their own creations, and at the end of the week they’ll bring together their complete array of new skills to create a large-scale, chain-reaction-type work of art.

Key Topics: Conservation of Energy • Principles of Balance • Gearing • Design-Oriented Thinking

Additional Course Information (PDF)

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Course Highlights

Engineering Automata

Engineering Automata

Engineering Automata

Students use cams and gears to build an automaton that represents a human or animal that moves as a result of their design. In this activity students explore how gears change force, speed and direction.  

Marble Run

Marble Run

Marble Run

Students explore the conservation of energy and construct a marble run to demonstrate how potential energy can be transformed into kinetic energy.

Mastering Mobiles

Mastering Mobiles

Mastering Mobiles

Students are introduced to the work of Alexander Calder to learn about complex mobiles. Then, students apply the principles of balance they explore in the course to build their own mobile. 

Master Mobiles

Students design their own mobiles using criteria, constraints, and the principles of balance and center or mass that they have explored throughout the day.

Back to Balance

Students experiment with kinesthetic kinetic sculpture, including some using gears.

Engineering Automata

Students engineer automata using gears

Crushable Sculpture

Students learn about an artist who represents collisions with his work and use the premise to create their own crushable sculptures.

Getting Into Gear

Students investigate gears and note the ways that gears can impact motion.

Course Evaluation

88

Students Liked or Loved This Course

90

Girls Liked or Loved This Course

92

Across i2 Courses, Teachers Agree that Students Showed Persistence with Difficult Tasks

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Sculptures Built