Happy Birthday, Leonardo!

by Vicky on May 21, 2012

Our Spring Spectacular programs for school kids during spring break celebrated Leonardo da Vinci’s 560th birthday.

We explored his fascination with flight and his inventions—particularly his flying machines and his self-supporting bridge.

Our first program focused on Leonardo’s flying machines.  I showed the wonderful short animated film, Leonardo, by Jim Capobianco.  Then we watched a clip from the documentary film, Leonardo’s Dream Machines, showing Judy Leden becoming Leonardo’s test pilot in 2002 when she flew a glider built from his 500-year-old drawings.

Then the kids made their own model ornithopters based on a project from the book, Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself, by Maxine Anderson.  They test flew their models and experimented with various modifications. 

Then they folded a paper airplane inspired by Leonardo’s ornithopter design.

They test-flew their paper airplanes and then began making modifications for further tests.

Leonardo would have been pleased with their experimental approach to design!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: