Happy Birthday Senor da Vinci

EG Inc took a slightly different approach for our Forensic Friday today.

I recently learned today, 15 April, is Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday.

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Senor da Vinci was a true Evil Genius. I really wanted to celebrate this day but I was stuck on ideas.

After reading a GeekMom article by My Little Poppies, I was so inspired by the idea of celebrating DEAR this week, I thought: why not celebrate DEAD – Drop Everything And Draw?

And what better way to celebrate DEAD than with a DEAD artist… like Leonardo da Vinci.

For those not familiar with DEAR, it means Drop Everything And Read. Author Beverley Cleary wrote about DEAR in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8. It was such a hit, the USA hold national DEAR programs on April 12th, Beverly Cleary’s birthday. She is still alive too –  celebrated the big 1-0-0 this week.

At our local school (not US), the spawnlings practice both DEAR and DEAD in the classroom. I thought the timing was perfect for our Forensic Friday.

The thing about da Vinci is that he wasn’t just an artist. He was a polymath; an individual that was brilliant at everything (particularly during or influenced by the Renaissance). We’re talking painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, chemist, geologist, physicist, architect, musician, philosopher, and humanist.

Over-achiever.

But I like a challenge. Today was in celebration of Leonardo da Vinci.

 

Now remember we ARE on school holidays at the moment, and the two older spawnlings have definitely earned a rest. So I opted for just one of his many interesting inventions, The Flying Machine. I took most of my cues from a book I picked up a year or so ago:  Inventions – Leonardo da Vinci, published in 2014 by Lake Press Pty Ltd.da vinci book

The Flying Machine was completely inspired by da Vinci’s jealous admiration for birds; particularly their ability “escape the Earthly bonds”. Namely, gravity.

This was a great opportunity to kick the spawnlings outside – let’s find some birds or wildlife and draw it! We live next to a park with PLENTY of birds that wake Zaltu up every damn morning.

Do you think we could find a bird today?

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All we could find was this bug. I don’t even know WTH it is.

But we were committed to the cause!! (*committed to something…)

After our great exploration, we returned inside to observe and draw our wildlife.

Sinister really enjoyed this part:

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Nefarious decided he wanted to paint the adventure, rather than the achievement:

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And Zaltu… well, Zaltu…

Rainbow Zaltu
She chose to paint the participants in the adventure. Namely, herself. Literally.
As you can see, she was mighty impressed with me calling an end to the artistic display. Zaltu calls this piece “Rainbow Zaltu”. You can have it as a complete work of art for a mere block of chocolate… but don’t call me when the artwork wakes you at 3am asking why the possums are allowed to play outside her window and she is not.

 

Seriously though, Zaltu painted a beautiful wrapping paper design for da Vinci’s birthday presents. And was then upset when I had to explain there were no presents to wrap.IMG_9800

At which point, Sinister realised da Vinci gained his deep understanding of bird muscles from observing them inside and out (read: dissecting them) and was a little … concerned. During which time Nefarious read ahead in the book and learnt about the blowy-uppy weapons da Vinci designed and wondered why we weren’t building our own canons instead. Broken wrist remember?

We then had pizza for dinner and I sent them to bed – at 5.30pm. Because they tired me out.

For a bunch of activities to do for a day, it was actually kind of fun. The spawnlings were truly amazed by the concept of a polymath. The sheer amount of study da Vinci undertook to confidently do the work he did. Not so much Zaltu (she is only 2) but definitely the older two.

It was great watching them both realise you did NOT have to limit yourself to one speciality. You CAN be a marine biologist who incorporates art and software development in their work. You CAN be an astrophysicist who includes chemistry and electrical engineering in their project designs.

DEAD was just something to start the discussion. The best ‘birthday present’ today was listening to all three talk about what they wanted to create tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how Zaltu’s Batcave turns out.

 

Forensic Friday #6 – All I have is static

There is nothing funnier than sneaking up on your sibling, all charged with static electricity – and letting rip with a ZAP!

Well, maybe one thing – watching on as an EG Parent while the spawnlings learn this!

Here’s the basics of Sinister’s Balloon Static Electricity Experiment:

Materials:

  • Balloons
  • Wall
  • Sibling (this may take time to prepare – talk to other EG Parents if you need advice on this one – can be replaced with some other unwilling participant)
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How to build up some static electricity

  1. Blow up the balloon
  2. Rub against the wall
  3. Step away from the wall – like magic, the static electricity will hold the balloon to the wall.
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Like magic! Scientific magic!

Now, the question of “Why?” will come up – so here is the answer, to help you still look EG in front of the spawnlings:

Everything around us is made of tiny little parts called atoms. Atoms are made up of even smaller parts, which are called protons, electrons, and neutrons.

The protons, electrons, and neutrons are very different. Protons have a positive charge. Electrons have a negative charge. Neutrons are pretty easy going either way with no charge. Usually, atoms have the same amount of electrons and protons. When the atom has no charge, it is ‘neutral’. This also means that negatively charged things will be attracted to positive-charged things, and vice versa.

However, if you rub things together, electrons can move from one atom to another. Then some atoms get extra electrons and the other atoms might have a negative charge or no charge at all. The extra electrons will then be attracted to either neutral or positive-charged things. Like the walls or other people. When charges are separated like this, it is called static electricity.

Now, sometimes you can rub your feet on the carpet and build up some static electricity in yourself. Being dry helps out too. If you build up enough, you can then pass this static to another person – like a sibling, just as an example. You don’t HAVE to, of course. I am totally leaving this one for your own free will.