Innovation: George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture
South Bend 2009 - 2010

Lesson 13: Joints and motion
How does a Rickey sculpture move compared to a human being?
Grades: all, depending on the leading questions

Resources: (1) More
pictures of Rickey sculptures; (2) Three 30 second videos of the sculptures

    Possible Questions
Do all the Rickey sculptures have balance points?
What sort of different joints/balance points can you find in different Rickey sculptures?
What is the difference between a joint and a balance point? Discuss everyday examples of things that move and/or rotate.
What are the differences in the movements of Rickey sculptures and human beings?

Teacher help:
The questions are focused on how one part of a sculpture (or for example, a human) moves relative to another part.
The Rickey sculptures use knife edges, gimbels, rotary joints, etc.
How do these comapre with human joints? Are there different types of joints in the sculptures, in humans, in other objects?
Once they have some ideas about different types of joints/balance points, they can break up into groups.
Hands–on: Each group can identify different types of joints in the human body (classification)
(there is a FOSS module which includes assembling a skeleton)
A whole class discussion should lead to about three different types
-then in groups again, try to build a sculpture which uses at least 2 different types of joint or balance point.
Summing up the experience: Whole class discussions
All grades should be able to compare their results with the more complex Rickey sculptures.
The higher grades can discuss the balance and motions of models more analytically:
high school students can discuss how fast the different objects move, and what forces make them move
Extensions: Introduction to forces and how they produce motion
What are the differences between the effects of (variable) wind force and (constant) gravitational force to produce motion.
(in the sculptures and in the human body)
Develop a sense of how muscles produce and control motion in animals

Some Standards
Sc.5.6.4 Investigate, observe, and describe that things change in steady, repetitive, or irregular ways...
Sc.2.3.7 Investigate and observe that the way to change how something is moving is to give it a push or a pull.
Sc.7.3.17 Investigate that an unbalanced force, acting on an object, changes its speed or path of motion or both...