A major part of our interactive exhibitions revolves around engaging visitors with hands on experiments and activities. As Leonardo da Vinci himself once said: “Experience is the father of learning”. We are pleased to make available some of the most popular activities from our exhibitions for personal use, Have fun!
- Make your own Da Vinci Parachute
- Make your own Da Vinci Glider (courtesy of Waikato Museum)
- Archimedes Stomachion Puzzle
- Ancient Rome Board Game – Simple Merels
Make your own Da Vinci Parachute
Step 1: Cut the parachute out (along the thick black outer lines)
Step 2: Fold the parachute along the thin red lines
Step 3: Glue the “glue here” tab underneath the opposite side (the alternate point C)
Step 4: Punch or cut holes in the circles labelled A, B, C & D (note that both “C circles” should line up to form 1 hole)
Step 5: Cut 4 strings into lengths of 12 inches or 30cms and tie them to the corner holes
Step 6: Tie the loose ends of the 4 strings together (you can add a paperclip or small weight to the knot for extra weight)
Step 7: Let it go!
Make your own Da Vinci Glider
Print on heavyweight (250gsm) A4 paper or glue to light card paper. Cut along the solid lines, including the slots in the sides of the body (this will require a craft knife).
Fold along dotted lines. For best results, scoring or creasing the fold lines is recommended.
Stick the parts together using double sided tape (recommended) or glue.
Launch gently, with the nose pointed slightly downward.
Archimedes Stomachion Puzzle
Designed by the famous scientist Archimedes during the Hellenistic era (323 – 31BC), the Stomachion is a mathematical puzzle game that teaches players about spatial relationships. On a more advanced level, the Stomachion is an example of a branch of advanced mathematics called combinatorics.
The game is to cut out the coloured shapes and try to rebuild the perfect square. Archimedes found 536 different ways to reassemble the pieces
into a perfect square. How many can you find?
(Pro tip: try turning some of the pieces coloured side down to add an extra element of difficulty!)
Roman Board game (Simple Merels)
This is a simple version of the ancient Roman game merels, also known as nine mans morris. A board for playing this simple version of the games was discovered at the Roman fort Segedunum in Newcastle, England.
Merels is a game for two players in which the players take turns to place one of their three coloured tokens onto an unoccupied circle on the game board. The first player to get three of their tokens in a straight line wins the game. Once all the tokens have been placed by the players, they take turns moving one of their tokens to an adjoining vacant position. If a player cannot move any of their tokens, they must pass.
Duration: A game of simple merels takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to play