Alexander “Sandy” Calder, an American artist and mechanical engineer, created a miniature whimsical circus out of wire, cork and fabric that he carried in five suitcases, traveling from New York City to Paris to entertain his friends and colleagues.
Hillbrook second graders embark on a similar journey each year, writing a circus scene for which they will make Calder-inspired characters that move using the principles of simple machines, balance and motion. The project concludes with the performance of an original musical composition to make the story come to life.
Sandy’s Circus was what his friends and colleagues called his fantastical creation and is also the title of the book by Tanya Lee Stone with illustrations by Boris Kulikov. Throughout the project students walk through Sandy’s footsteps as an artist and sculptural engineer.