Here is a very well-written biography of Leonardo da Vinci that goes nicely with our free unit study. Leonardo da Vinci, Pathfinder of Science written by Henry Sampson Gillette is part of the Immortals of Science series published by Franklin Watts.
Told in story form, this is a great read aloud or early introduction to da Vinci that is meant to encourage further future investigation:
It is natural that, within the confines of these few pages, many facets of Leonardo’s extraordinary personality will be missing. That he was an artist, a man of letters, a poet and a philosopher are well known. That he was also a man of humor, as well as a prophet whose vision extended far beyond his times, are facts that I have also tried to include in this biography. There are many gaps in our knowledge of his life, and these I have sometimes filled with my own imagination to give some continuity to his story….
This book is about Leonardo the scientist, and to fully write of his many accomplishments would require an encyclopedic mind. My intent has been to extract the essence of his story in the hopes that it would arouse the enthusiasm of a reader to further his interest in those other, more fully documented books—and, above all, in the notebooks that Leonardo himself wrote.
The tour of da Vinci’s life begins when he was fifteen and covers:
- The beginning of his study of art in Florence.
- Moving on to a studio of his own.
- His move to Milan.
- The creation of his equestrian monument.
- Financial problems.
- Fleeing from Milan.
- His work on flight.
- His last years.
Throughout the book the vast number of scientific investigations and inventions are also covered. A timeline at the end ties it all together.
Leonardo da Vinci is a perfect introduction to a great master — and it is free!
- Create a Leonardo da Vinci notebook.
- On a map of Italy, mark Vinci, Florence, and Milan.
- Narrate each chapter and include the narration in your notebook.
- Use Drawing and Writing Paper to copy and describe several of da Vinci’s inventions.
- Use the timeline in the back of the book to create a timeline for your notebook.
- Copy a paragraph or so from your favorite part of the book.
- Use the ideas and resources in our unit study to explore more!