Ever wonder why at Camp EDMO®, our Science, Technology & Nature themed camp sessions all include maker projects that fuse collaborative design challenges with art and individual expression? The point of our programs is to spark kids’ curiosity, stretch their creativity, strengthen their collaboration skills and inspire self-reflection. But also, along the way they experience interconnectedness with each other and the natural world.
It’s that interconnectedness that drives innovation. The original Renaissance man, or “universal man,” Leonardo da Vinci is a great example of what can happen when science and art meet. Author Jonathan Pevsner recently wrote about da Vinci in Scientific American, in celebration of the way that even after 500 years, he still strikes us as a modern genius.
Da Vinci worked in the arts, science and technology. He had valuable discoveries in chemistry, astronomy, math and even plastics. It’s generally thought that he didn’t do very well in school and wasn’t much of an academic, but the tinkering, experimenting and thinking he did in his out of school time changed everything about the world then and continues to affect us now.
A pioneer in illustration, his ability to observe the world around him drove his genius. Da Vinci relied on his senses to understand anatomy, physiology, physics and art’s ability to represent the real world authentically. As Pevsner writes, he also borrowed from art to understand and describe science: he used the sculptural technique of “lost wax” to make casts of the inner workings of the human body. He was the first to estimate a coefficient of friction and realized that it mattered not only to machines, but also to the human body.
Leonardo da Vinci was, first and foremost, an artist. Five hundred years ago an artist could also be a scientist and an engineer, and so he was. Today it’s not so easy to be all three at the same time. But we like to recognize the power of interconnectedness: Camp EDMO® Projects blur the line between art and science and allow for lots of personal expression. We encourage campers to draw knowledge from their experience and each other, which is just as valuable a method of observation today as it was in Leonardo da Vinci’s day.