New Experience #6 – The Leonardo DaVinci Tour

A couple of weekends ago I visited a travelling Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit that is currently in St. Louis.  I will preface this post by saying that Da Vinci is the historical figure I admire most.  His life has inspired and influenced mine in countless ways.  One of the most recent ways Da Vinci has inspired me is in my purpose for my business.  I founded an academic coaching business, Studee-Lounge, several years ago with the distinct goal of finding a way to help students be more like Da Vinci in the way they learn and apply what they learn.

Da Vinci is incredibly interesting because he is credited with so many crucial inventions, some of which have not been replaced in 500 years.  For instance, he invented differential gears that to-date, work the same way.  Of course, today we have better materials that he did not have and we also have power sources that didn’t exist in his day.  However, the concept is still the same.  This is simply one of many things I learned about him on the tour of the exhibit.

Unfortunately, we know little about Da Vinci’s upbringing.  What is known is that up until he was almost a teenager he lived with his uncle and did not attend school.  He simply explored nature with his uncle every day and they discussed topics like philosophy, nature, science, etc.  He learned by asking questions of experiences and seeking the answers himself.  When he reached his teenage years, his father took him to Florence and enrolled him in school.  However, Leonardo did not enjoy learning from textbooks nor simply discussing topics that he could not experience personally.  He caused problems for his teachers and was eventually enrolled with famed master artist Verocchio.  It is mostly from this point on that we know a great deal about Da Vinci’s life.

I find his upbringing interesting, however little we know.  He learned by doing and his curiosity was encouraged and nourished at such a young age.  I believe the key to “creating” the next Da Vinci is in encouraging and nourishing curiosity.  Subsequently, he sought answers to his questions and learned to solve his own problems.  He became so good at it that he went on to explore, solve, and innovate in fields as distinct as fluid dynamics, flight, mechanics, botany, art, biology, anatomy, etc.  He truly was a renaissance man.

Below are some pictures from my day at the exhibit…

War machines

He rocked the gears! Since the metal tech wasn't available, he made the chain out of leather. This chain is metal, simply to demonstrate how he had intended for it to work.

Bicycle 1.0...before the technology was available for metal chains.

Parachute 1.0


An alarm clock of sorts...

My friend, Erin, playing with a Da Vinci invention. This invention transported water from a lower to a higher position.

6 thoughts on “New Experience #6 – The Leonardo DaVinci Tour

  1. It looks like it was a great exhibit. I’m so sad I missed it! What strikes me the most about Da Vinci’s work is the playfulness behind it. Not only did he invent functional items, but he didn’t let the constraints of life stop him from dreaming about flying or walking on water. Experimental learning is great to encourage ideas and get people of all ages to think past what we can do and instead to what we want to do. I love the example of Science Fiction. If it weren’t for such a playful, imaginative genre, the world would have no sliding doors, tablets, or lasers.

    • Thank you for the comment! I totally agree with your thoughts on his playfulness. You just sparked a connection between Da Vinci’s approach and gamification. Hmmm…I like where this is going. Thanks again!

      • What a good topic u post.. Love it..
        anyway Really? Is Leonardo dreaming about flying or walking on water??
        then was he succesful find the way to walking on the water?

      • As far as I know, he only made drawings of the invention for walking on water – I do not believe he actually built it. He was quite amazing for thinking of these ideas!

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