Known as a great Italian Renaissance artist, engineer and inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci left an indelible mark on human history. Many elementary classes learn about him and study his influence on modern art and science. More than just a greatpainter, Da Vinci also excelled in drawings, murals and inventions. If you are planning to teach a unit on Da Vinci to your elementary students, you can choose from many different types of art projects that will be educational and inspiring.

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa portrait is one of Da Vinci’s most famous works of art. Her image is known around the world, and many of your students may even be familiar with this painting before you introduce it. Allow your students to use their creativity to re-create this important piece of work. They can use their own school portraits and paint “Mona Lisa” versions of themselves. Bring in several types of dry pastas and glue for materials, and let your students create 3D re-creations of the portrait in lieu of painted images.

Body Drawings

Teach your students about how Da Vinci paid close attention to the details of sizes and scales. According to the Art Coloring Pages website, you can introduce your students to these types of details by using printable coloring pages of his “Proportions of the Human Figure” drawing. Older students can create pencil drawings of humans or animals with an emphasis on the figure's size proportions, such as the head and limbs in relation to the body's core.

Inventions

This Renaissance man was an inventor and philosopher as well as a great artist. According to the Leonardo Da Vinci Biography website, he invented the parachute, as well as created early drawings of the first glider and helicopter. Introduce your students to Da Vinci’s inventions with a craft art project. Students work in partners to brainstorm an invention that can help make modern life easier. They use cardboard boxes and other craft objects to create diagrams of their new inventions, and then decorate the diagrams with paint and color.

Murals

Da Vinci painted the famous “Last Supper” as well as many other frescos and murals. Teach your students about the role of murals in public life, explaining how they work to act out scenes and portray significant events in the community. Ask your students to brainstorm mural ideas that represent daily school life and important activities or events. Students may paint on an actual classroom wall, pending approval from your principal. For a more temporary project, they can create a mural on a large piece of paper.