Start of main content
Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D & T

How to make a Leonardo da Vinci bridge

Learn how to make a bridge where the parts are not joined together.

In this engaging design and technology project for KS2, students will build a model of the Leonardo da Vinci bridge.

This activity will teach learners about the use of simple construction techniques as they assemble a working, load-bearing bridge. The bridge can then be tested to destruction, which can help learners understand the forces that act on bridges and how to design them to be strong and stable.

This activity can be used as a main lesson activity or as one of several activities within a wider scheme of learning about structures and Design for Living. It can be adapted to different age groups and abilities and can be used to teach a variety of concepts, such as forces, structures, and materials.

Activity: How to make a Leonardo da Vinci bridge

This resource is part of a set designed to help learners use seasonal themes to support the delivery of key topics in Design and Technology and Engineering. This resource is part of a group for the Summer and can be used in school or at home. It involves building a load-bearing bridge structure made up of simple members without any joining methods.

This activity is aimed at the high end of Key Stage 2 and should be carried out in pairs or small groups, as a minimum of two pairs of hands are needed, along with some dexterity.

How long will this activity take to complete?

This activity will take about 60-90 minutes to complete. Teachers can download the activity sheet below for a detailed lesson plan. Parents can download the family activity for a step-by-step guide on how to help their children build a Leonardo Da Vinci bridge at home.

Who was Leonardo Da Vinci?

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath who lived from 1452 to 1519. He is considered one of the most talented individuals of all time, excelling in a wide range of fields, including art, engineering, science, and anatomy.

Da Vinci's inventions were vast and varied, and many of them were far ahead of their time. He designed a self-propelled cart, a parachute, a helicopter, armoured fighting vehicles, a robotic knight, a solar-powered oven, diving equipment, and a calculator. In the 1480s, he designed a bridge that could be transported in a flat-pack form, assembled in under 10 minutes, and assembled without any physical joins.

Da Vinci's work had a profound impact on the development of science and technology. His inventions inspired generations of engineers and scientists, and his notebooks are still studied by scholars today.

The engineering context

Using scale models is a development tool used in many areas of Engineering.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will understand how forces can act on parts of a structure to make it stand without extra support or joining methods, and they will look at the engineering work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools' needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation


How to make a Leonardo da Vinci bridge

Related resources