Teacher Notes


This lesson is designed for the seventh grade and fits into unit 7.8 of the State of California History-Social Science standards.

7.8 Students analyze the origins, accomplishments and geographic diffusion of the
Renaissance, in terms of

    5. Advances in literature, the arts, science, mathematics, cartography, engineering, and the understanding of human anatomy and astronomy (e.g. biographies of Dante, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Guttenburg, Shakespeare).

Research into Leonardo the scientist also relates to Science standard number 5: "The anatomy and physiology of plants and animals illustrate the complimentary nature of structure and function."

Language Arts standards met include:

W 1.3 Use strategies of note-taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure composition drafts.
W 1.4 Identify topics; ask and evaluate answers; and develop ideas leading to inquiry, investigation, and research.
W 2.3 Write research reports that pose relevant and tightly drawn questions about the topic, convey clear and accurate perspectives on the subject, and include evidence generated through the formal research process.
LS 2.3 Deliver research presentations that pose relevant and concise questions about the topic, convey clear and accurate perspectives on the subject, include evidence generated through formal research process and cite reference sources appropriately.

The purpose of this lesson is to provide a context for study of the Renaissance through an examination of the life and accomplishment of Leonardo Da Vinci. A minimum of 11 class hours is recommended for this study, however that may be expected to vary depending on class organization and accessibility of resources. To maximize available resources, teachers may wish to make use of books from county libraries. Given sufficient advance notice (at least three weeks) county librarians are happy to assemble a variety of books for classroom use to support this unit.

Allow time at the beginning of the lesson to develop a grading rubric with the class for the different elements of the lesson. A useful Web site with information for involving students in the assessment process may be found at http://www.interactiveclassroom.com/articles_006.htm

This site provides a model for students to design their own grading rubric. By doing so, students have an opportunity to really understand grading criteria and internalize them before beginning the work of the lesson.

Groups should be heterogeneous and assigned by the teacher.

Lesson Extensions

For teachers with the technical capabilities and expertise, this lesson lends itself to a variety of presentation possibilities. For example, Leonardo the artist could be done as a computer generated slide show. Students may also wish to include a sound track of Renaissance music. Teams could work together to prepare a video presentation of their work. The challenge is to be as imaginative as Leonardo.

Karen Harness
Cecil Avenue Middle School
Delano Union School District