To show students how a mechanism or process works, the Web cannot replace a museum visit with hands-on demonstrations. However, you can adapt the above activity by using images from the Internet to teach students how to analyze mechanical drawings. For example, visit the online Leonardo Museum to download many of the artist's engineering sketches. Print and attach these images to your classroom's walls or display them on a table. Have each student choose one object and describe in writing how it works. Have them tell what the device does and list the steps that someone would need to follow to make it function. Does such a mechanism exist today? How do the modern versions of these machines differ in appearance from those that da Vinci envisioned?
If your students are interested in inventions, both recent and historical,
another great resource to turn to is the Smithsonian's Lemelson
Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Visit the site to
download terrific images of technical inventions that come from the Center's
collections. You can print these pictures, post them on your classroom walls,
and have students write about how someone would use theses devices. Have
students use the background information that accompanies each image to determine
the object's age. Then, have them describe what the modern version of the
machine or object looks like and how it functions.
Last Modified September 19, 1997