Teaching Ideas

Early Learning

For Ages 3-5

Art Discussion

  • Does this sculpture look like anything familiar?

  • Who has flown in an airplane? Does this look like the airplanes you have flown in? How is it the same? How is it different?

  • What are the colors you notice on this sculpture? Point out the colors—red, yellow, and blue. These colors are called the primary colors. Show the children a color wheel and have them identify the primary colors in the color wheel.

  • Would you like to ride in an airplane that looked like this? You could have many years ago! In 1973 Dallas-based Braniff Airlines commissioned artist Alexander Calder to paint an aircraft (the McDonnell Douglas DC-8). The airline wanted to give off a glossy, modern and attention-getting image. Calder painted many different colorful airplane models that reflected the bright colors and simple designs of South America and Latin America. This model was actually made into a real airplane and it was flown mainly on flights from North to South America.

  • The name of this work of art is Flying Colors “Humor” which also means funny—what parts of this airplane look funny or humorous to you? Calder added some fish and “beasties” to his airplane design, giving it a whimsical feeling. He thought this airplane was a “happy combination of international travel, business and the arts.”

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Does this sculpture look like anything familiar?

  • Who has flown in an airplane? Does this look like the airplanes you have flown in? How is it the same? How is it different?

  • What are the colors you notice on this sculpture?

  • Would you like to ride in an airplane that looked like this?

  • The name of this work of art is Flying Colors “Humor” which also means funny—what parts of this airplane look funny or humorous to you?