Term: 3 Year: 2008
Why Chinese inspired gliders?
Kangaroo Flat Primary school is a Studies of Asia school, with this year being the Beijing Olympics held in China it
was decided that the school would as a whole study different aspects of China. Each Easter in Bendigo there is also a large
Easter procession featuring a huge section of Chinese realia, dragons and lions and the children always like to do something
along the dragon theme prior to Easter.
The senior unit of our school known as the Ironbark neighbourhood were studying symbols and symmetry so we began a study
of those elements in the art room combining symmetrical dragon drawings initially with Chinese symbols, once the children
felt comfortable with the symbol drawing they were asked to design on an A4 sheet of paper a shape of their choosing to
be turned into a glider. ( For years at Kangaroo Flat Primary School I have made kites with the senior students however
the success rate was not good due to the type of kite and the children’s inaccurate measuring.
The gliders came from our Principal wanting a special “sparkle” element to the opening of our new school 3 years
ago, her speech featured the stages of growth of a butterfly likened to our new school’s planning and subsequent
building so I developed the gliders from her request, they worked well and the children pestered for ages to make one so
now they are made every second year.)
We discussed the elements required for viewing something from a height and that was moving we also discussed size of
the gliders and sizes of the drawings that would feature on them. Once the children were happy with their composition they
redrew the basic design onto large sheets of paper, this became the children’s pattern for transferring their design
onto the Tyvek.
Once their shape was transferred onto Tyvek the children drew onto the Tyvek as much of their individual designs as
they needed to commence painting. Before the painting took place the gliders were taken home by the Art teacher and rod
pockets to hold dowel were stitched to the Tyvek. Before painting commenced the children coloured the A4 drawing so that
they knew what colour they wanted to go where, this also helped with the painting of areas so that two wet areas were not
painted beside one another their original A4 drawing became their “bible” where they noted changes this was
also used as part of their assessment. Viponds paint was used and the children were permitted to mix special colours the
matte Viponds works wonderfully with the Tyvek.
The children were totally absorbed with the painting and designing, total engagement, it was wonderful to see them working
in pairs or threes as space was at a premium when we started painting, the children formed teams and were directed by the
glider’s owner. Once one side of the glider was completed the children could choose either to replicate their work
on the glider’s other side of simply paint the other side a different colour, many of the children replicated, some
who had put a great deal of detail into the first side opted to just paint their reverse one colour where as others painted
a simple pattern.
The final detailing on the gliders was achieved using watered down black Viponds matte and Viponds gold paste, the children
did practise on newspaper before working on their gliders, I was very pleased to see the accuracy and smoothness that was
achieved with the final details. Many children chose to Google their nicknames to see if there was a Chinese character,
those who were successful were able to paint their character on their glider. Assembling the glider required a length of
fishing line, split ring, fishing swivel, bamboo pole and packing tape. Launching of the gliders took
place at our school’s special Education Week assembly so the 110 very proud students had a captive audience and with
only a very light breeze the gliders performed to perfection. That is the beauty of the glider it will work in all weather
The children learnt that the biggest glider is not always the best and they hated cutting out their Tyvek shapes plus
their only other negative comment was that it took too long but they understood why. As part of their assessment the children
wrote their own comments about the glider making process, it was wonderful to read their use of specific art terms and
follow through their thinking that had taken place to make their glider all children thoroughly enjoyed the process.
Other areas of assessment were : the application of the materials used, responses of the audience, thinking process
especially Green hat, children’s own comments, use of the Chinese symbols and symmetry.
Kangaroo Flat Primary School