Below are suggested answers for the questions on the Exploring Leonardo student sheet.
1. What is your definition of a machine?
Answers will vary. Students will get an opportunity later in the lesson to revise their answers.
2. What kinds of machines were common in Leonardo's time? What were they like? What were they made of?
Possible answers might include wheels, Archimedes screws, pulleys, and other simple machines.
3. What new idea about machines did Leonardo have?
He reasoned that by understanding how each separate machine part worked, he could modify them and combine them in different ways to improve existing machines or create inventions no one had ever seen before.
4. How was Leonardo’s idea different from that of his contemporaries?
Leonardo set out to write the first systematic explanations of how machines work and how the elements of machines can be combined.
The Elements of Machines
5. Did “The Elements of Machines” change your ideas about machines in any way? If so, revise your definition of a machine in the space provided. Explain your answer.
Answers will vary. Students who did not initially conceive of machines as systems should now incorporate some ideas about machines as systems into their definition.
6. Are Leonardo’s designs still useful today? What can we learn from studying his ideas? Explain your answer.
Answers will vary. Complete answers should address not only ideas that have been realized to some degree, but also ideas that although not viable, still incorporated elements of modern technology. Students may also say that learning about how Leonardo thought about invention and innovation provides inspiration for the designing of future innovations.