Leonardo Da Vinci was an engineer, painter, anatomist, biologist, teacher. He was also a keen observer of nature and life. Most of what he learned was through observation and inquiry, and he didn’t do it without a plan – or to be more specific, his list of learning objectives, jotted down carefully, and I assume (or hope) with…action verbs.

Consider the following:

  • Describe the tongue of a woodpecker.
  • Describe the jaw of a crocodile.
  • Complete The Adoration of the Magi (which incidentally, he never did.)
  • See (Observe) how the birds are nourished in their eggs.

At times, he would make his learning objectives time-bound by establishing a timeline to complete his tasks. We can also see a reflection of Bloom’s Taxonomy in his choice of verbs.

Let us now reflect upon the inquiring mind of this lifelong learner. He asked questions such as:

  • What is sneezing?
  • What does the human heart look like? (and he ended up discovering that the heart had four ventricles instead of two, as it was believed in his time.)
  • How does its tail help a fish swim?
  • Why does the sky appear blue during the day?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. He did some meticulous note-keeping about his plans, designs, and inventions, and even though he wrote in reverse and was stingy in the use of Grammar and Punctuation, what he learned through careful observation and his inductive/didactic reasoning was proven by other scientists, centuries later.

As I continue my reading of Leonardo Da Vinci’s biography by Walter Isaacson, I wonder at Leonardo Da Vinci’s insatiable desire to find out everything about everything. His curiosity wasn’t contained within a specific discipline. He wanted all his questions answered, and he did everything he could to arrive an an informed and reasoned answer to all his questions.