Leonardo Da Vinci Flying Machines



Rocket Man


My fourth graders learned about Leonardo Da Vinci's many talents. I have to give mad props to my buddy Derek, an art teacher in Peshtigo WI (http://greatartdoors.blogspot.com/) for this lesson. Derek did this with his fourth graders (check out his blog) and used paper straws and other different materials. I used wood dowels, paper, string, twisty-ties, plates, hot glue, rice paper, cardboard, and plastic. I started the lesson by introducing the students to Da Vinci's many talents... science, military, and artist. We focused on his two studies on flight and their drawn models. The students examined the drawing, and then looked at drawn models from the Wright Brothers and airplane models drawn up till today.
The students started by drawing their own blueprints showing a side, top, and front or back views. After their 2-D model was approved, the students started building their own flying machines. The students used hot glue and tape to connect pieces together. I encouraged problem solving and only aided students when needed in the building process as another pair of hands. At the end of each class, I would ask if students would like me to show them a technique or process that would aid them in their building next class. This helped me to avoid questions during that next class.
As you can see the students all created unique designs that were either inspired by Da Vinci or modern instruments of flight. Loved this lesson and how much growth I saw in my students. All students (male and female) loved working with the hot glue (low temp) and building something 3-D. Will definitely repeat this project next year.


  1. I absolutely love this lesson. Da Vinci's inventions are so intriguing to both students and adults. I will definitely be scouring my supplies for a way to put my own spin on this. Thanks a bunch for sharing.


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