Level III-Art Lesson 12: Da Vinci’s Clock
Learn to create a collage from shapes inspired by the parts of da Vinci's clock
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 5 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
We often think of Leonardo da Vinci as a painter. Who hasn’t heard of his painting of the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, or the Lady with the Ermine? But da Vinci was more than a painter. In fact he thought of himself first of all as an engineer/inventor, and invented
- The first self-propelled “car,”
- A robot,
- War machines, and
- Several clocks.
The Academy Model Company has converted one of his plans for a clock into a working model, making it easy to study the clock’s mechanics. The model makes it easy to imagine what the invention might have looked like if one were using 15th Century materials.
Students will study the parts of the clock, and use them as inspiration to create a collage. In the process they will:
- Collect templates,
- Collect paper with a variety of textures,
- Trace the template shapes onto the papers, cut them out, and
- Glue the shapes into a collage.
In the PowerPoint version, the collage with be finished in monochromatic colors, using paint and oil pastels. In the Video version, the collage is finished with aluminum foil and color media. Students learn techniques to achieve unity in a composition. It’s an exciting way to explore collage and create an original composition.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- (This lesson has NO drawing warm-up)
- A piece of cardboard about 11” x 14”
- Acrylic paints
- Set of brushes
- 1 set of oil pastels
- White glue or glue stick
- 1 scissors
- A collections of geometric shapes to be used for templates
- A collection of papers with different textures to be cut for the collage
- Aluminum foil (video version)
- Colored magic markers (optional for the video version)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Learn why Da Vinci's clock was an important invention.
- Watch the model clock in operation.
- Watch a different da Vinci clock invention as it ticks.
- Da Vinci invented the first alarm clock. Read about it in “Springs and Things” in Leonardo Da Vinci's Life.
- You can also watch a third da Vinci clock in operation.
- Learn about the history of timekeeping devices with this video. (You may find the opening moments controversial, but stay with it for a good summary of clock history).
- Do an experiment with pendulums.
- Find ideas for science projects with pendulums.
- Learn about a 3-pendulum rotary harmonograph.
The Life of Da Vinci
- Read Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci by Gene Barretta.
- Read Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions: You Can Build Yourself (Build It Yourself).
- Read “Leonardo Da Vinci as Told to Children" (p. 19 in this UNESCO publication).
- Find several lesson plans about Da Vinci.
- Learn how Da Vinci combined art and science.
- Read some Quick facts about Da Vinci.
- Find 20 things you probably didn’t know about Da Vinci.
- Discover more facts about da Vinci.
History: What makes a person like da Vinci a "Renaissance Person?"
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Collecting textures: 1-60 minutes (Take your time! This can be a lot of fun.)
- Tracing and cutting shapes: 20 minutes
- Arranging, gluing and painting the collage: 45 minutes
- Total time: 125 minutes