Kinetic Sculpture

Kayla Knox and Ales Pinzon

Jon Knox


In a mountain side neighborhood of Salitre Alto in Bogota, Colombia we taught the eleven to twelve year old children about kinetic sculpture. For one week, four boys and four girls attended our class without missing one day. We were located within the community building along with the youngest children’s class. The teachers were Kayla Knox, Jon Knox, and a Colombian co-teacher, Ales Pinzon.

The overall goals:

  • Increase students commitment to learning 
  • Enlarge children’s hope for a future 
  • Increase students understanding of community 

The overall objectives:

  • Students will learn the scientific definition of kinetic and potential energy 
  • Students will work together and gain skills on how to work in community with neighbors 
  • Engage students in a hopeful vision for the future through sculpture making 
  • Engage students in the medium of sculpture and learn design elements of sculpture.

Methodology for testing:

  • Personal communication pre and post test of raising hands to distinguish a current emotion between happy, neutral, and sad as to how they feel about learning. 
  • Performance assessment pre and post test of drawing what they desire to be in their future. 
  • Written short answer post test as to what are the definitions of potential and kinetic energy.
  • Written short answer post test as to what new subject they want to learn in school.


Personal Communication of how they feel about learning.
  • Pre test: six students were happy to learn and one was neutral.
  • Post test: seven students were happy to learn and another was happy to learn although they did not attend the first day to perform the pre test.
Conclusion: Six students still happy to learn while one increased desire to learn.  Notice below that groups are gender based which enhanced learning.

Performance assessment of their vision for their future:
  • Pre test: eight students were able to identify a future for themselves.
  • Post test: eight students were able to identify an individual future plus one concrete way they can have potential to meet their future.
Conclusion: their futures became more tangible as they drew them and sculpted them in clay. The students were asked to sculpt one aspect of their future in oatmeal clay. The process of choosing one thing made them process what was most important to them about their and how they could focus their attention on obtaining that one thing instead of just dreaming about their future it became tangible.

Written short answer assessment of what is potential and kinetic energy:
  • 100% of the students were able to give a definition of what potential and kinetic energy is despite one student who was did not attend the first day where we learned the definition of each.
Conclusion: The students were able to grasp the concept of potential and kinetic energy in the scientific form while many also defined it personally.

Written short answer post test of the subject they want to learn more about:
  • 100% were able to name a new subject they wanted to learn
  • 80% added art as one of the subjects they wanted to learn
  • Student 1 – science and art
  • Student 2 – social studies and art
  • Student 3 – art and English
  • Student 4 – history and art
  • Student 5 – science
  • Student 6 – mathematics
  • Student 7 – art and mathematics

Qualitative Results:

Student 1: was able to articulate how he was able build friends as he was able to create a flag that represents the positive aspects of his community. “Before this project I knew one of the guys here, but after this project I became friends with more people.”

Student 2 was able to articulate how she wanted to become a pediatric doctor and help sick children. When asked to sculpt her future she was able to create a hospital logo and a child's face.

During a game called Human Sculptures one student was asked to be a sculpture while the others were his clay. I asked for a student to lead and Jhon said he had an idea. That was an important moment because typically he was quite and shy but at that point he took a stand and became a leader. He felt safe enough to lead.

Discussion and Significance of the results: 

The students were able to have a more clear grasp about their future as everyday we talked about them and had them draw and sculpt what they want to do with their future.

The students felt safe enough to come and express themselves through art.

Student 1: “ I want to learn more about art”
Student 2: “To help our community we must keep the trash picked up. We need to place our trash in a trash can.”


  • Every student came back everyday, with the exception of one who arrived too late on the first day to join the group.
  • Student 1: very quite and shy as we all talked around the circle, but when she was presented a project she always did it well and took care of her drawings and pride in her final project. She had showed resilience to be able to ignore others around her who were not completing the project and to sit and focus on making her project look good and complete. She was very talented in art and mentioned in her final discussion how she wants to learn more about art.
  • Student 2: I watched him take control of the project but he struggled to communicate what the plan was to the other boys during the flag making project.
  • The girls and boys self selected into gender groups which allowed them to work together at different paces.
  • Student 3: he was hard to focus on anyone task, but when I asked him to do one thing particular he was able to do it well. He probably had ADD but his ability was high.
  • The students were able to decided that they did not want to draw by being vocal about it and complain about the project. So we moved on to another task which gave them the ability to make their own discussions.
  • Initially Student 4 had some struggles learning how to take control of the class with the language barrier that existed. When the opportunity came to have a committed translator to our group, it allowed her to have the confidence and ability to take the proper leadership role necessary for a successful classroom experience.Ales was an incredible co-teacher that has great potential for leadership roles in the future. He was great at engaging the kids and speaking on a level that didn't patronize them, but respected them and required much from them.

Final Celebration of Learning

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