National Gallery of Art – Sculpture

NG Scultpure

LILI Unit: National Gallery of Art, Sculpture

Essential Question:What choices do sculptors make when creating a sculpture? Pre-trip lesson: Students learn the vocabulary of sculpture as they look carefully at three-dimensional works of art in the classroom.  They focus on materials, subject matter, and differentiate between realistic and abstract sculpture.  Students are also introduced to Alexander Calder and the innovations that he brought to the art form.  They also learn about his incorporation of movement in his sculptures and explain how his sculptures were different from sculptures that came before.


Level of Difficulty:


Trip: Students explore sculpture by focusing on materials, subject matter, and message.  Students analyze contemporary sculpture, including the work of Alexander Calder. Then, students visit the sculpture garden to analyze, compare, and contrast contemporary sculptures.
Academic Standards:

  • English Language Arts (CC.4.R.I.2, CC.4.L.4.a)
  • Visual Arts (4.3.8)
Post-trip lesson: As a culminating activity, students become sculptors, creating their own mobiles with moving parts, inspired by Alexander Calder.  Students also test their knowledge of sculpture as they compete in a collaborative review game and take written assessments.