Exploring Leonardo

Exploring Leonardo


In this lesson, you will explore a variety of resources about Leonardo da Vinci and his designs. Along the way, you will develop and refine your own definition of a machine using da Vinci’s designs as examples. Before you go online, answer question #1 on the Exploring Leonardo student sheet that your teacher has provided.


To begin your exploration, read the introductory page for The Inventor's Workshop. As you read, think about these questions and answer them on the student sheet (questions #2, #3, and #4).

  • What kinds of machines were common in Leonardo's time?
  • What new idea about machines did Leonardo have?
  • How was Leonardo's idea different from that of his contemporaries?

Continue your exploration at The Elements of Machines. As you explore the website, think about your original definition of a machine. Then answer question #5 on the student sheet.


Knowledge Check

Now you will look at more of Leonardo's engineering and futuristic designs on these websites:

As you explore these resources, take note of which of Leonardo's ideas are still useful today. Consider designs or ideas that were later developed by others. Are Leonardo's designs still useful today? What can we learn from studying his ideas? Use your notes to answer question #6 on the student sheet.

Leonardo da Vinci is often referred to as a "Renaissance Man." Of course, Leonardo lived during the period of time referred to as the Renaissance, but the term "Renaissance Man" means much more than that. It is used to describe a person who is greatly accomplished in many areas. To understand how this description applies to Leonardo, go to the Renaissance Man website.

Click on the various sections: "Scientist," "Inventor," and "Artist." As you explore this site, think about the personal qualities that served Leonardo in all three of those roles.

This esheet is a part of the Leonardo's Machines lesson.

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