Cool After School: Leonardo’s Ornithopter

by Vicky on November 30, 2010

Maxine Anderson’s book, Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself, was the inspiration for the November 17 Cool After School class.

I read an excerpt from Jon Scieszka’s Time Warp Trio series, Da Wild, Da Crazy, Da Vinci, to introduce the kids to Da Vinci in a fun, light-hearted way.  Leonardo thinks the time-traveling kids are spies, since they already know about his secret drawings for inventions that he has never made.

Then everyone made simple models of Leonardo’s ornithopter.  They made test flights and then modified their ornithopters in various ways to improve their flight.  We discovered that adding a nose cone really helped.

Afterwards, I got out my laptop and showed them video of the first human-powered ornithopter flight on August 2, 2010, with a craft designed and built by a team of University of Toronto engineering students.

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