Science KS2: Discovering the work of Leonardo da Vinci

Dick, Dom and Fran Scott from 'Absolute Genius' describe the life and scientific work of Leonardo da Vinci.

He was born in 1452 in Italy. He is famous for his painting of the Mona Lisa, but he also wrote thousands of pages of notes in his journals.

These contained designs for machines that were centuries ahead of their time, including a flying machine, a parachute and a robotic knight.

Dick and Dom make a tank following da Vinci’s design and test it for protection, fire power and mobility. The key scientific points are made in a fun and student-friendly way.

This short film is from the CBBC series, Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom.

In this entertaining series Dick and Dom learn about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped our world.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could be presented with other modern machines which reflect Leonardo da Vinci's inventions (plus a few red herrings) and asked to try to identify the correct ones.

They could also look at the mechanical principles Leonardo da Vinci used in his inventions, such as leverage, pulleys, cranks, gears and the natural forces, such as centripetal force and hydraulics.

They could see if they can identify any of these mechanical principles in the modern machines:

What modern technologies could be used to optimise his machines?

Invite pupils to invent a machine that would make their lives easier, or which builds on a design by da Vinci, and draw it.

What mechanisms and materials would they use?

They could then present their ideas in front of the class.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second Level in Scotland.

More from Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom

Discovering the work of Archimedes
Discovering the work of Delia Derbyshire
Discovering the work of Elsie Widdowson
Discovering the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Discovering the work of James Watt
Discovering the work of Joseph Bazalgette
Discovering the work of Michael Faraday
Discovering the work of Sir Isaac Newton
Discovering the work of Wernher von Braun