Finding da Vinci

A Design Thinking Experience

Was Leonardo da Vinci an artist? Or was he a scientist?

The answer is yes. Painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. Leonardo freely fed his insatiable curiosity and defied all notions of human limits and ability.

Finding da Vinci is inspired by the two-story entry to the Science Wing and its potential to be filled and animated by a creation that celebrates the convergence of science and art. Expert mentors from the world of design will join us as we explore what's possible when design thinking is unleashed.

No one knows what this creation will look like, feel like or even sound like. Any idea could be selected to become the new symbol of creativity, curiosity, and invention at St. Luke’s.

There are no wrong ideas - but just one concept will be built. Which team's will it be?
Example of Middle School Design Concept

The Finding da Vinci Challenge:

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  • Schematic Design Phase I - Seeking Middle School Imaginations

    The entire Middle School participated in a half-day workshop where they heard from design professionals (mentors) about how they use and encounter design thinking in their various avenues of work. After observing the designers’ inspiring images and being encouraged to “play,” students broke into teams to brainstorm about how the convergence of science and art in the Science Wing entry foyer could, quite literally, take on a physical shape, resulting in an interactive installation or thought provoking sculpture. Each team generated a miniature prototype, using materials like cardboard, straws, and popsicle sticks. They were then asked to tell their story, recounting to the group their decision-making process, and how they arrived at their original solution. The students then developed a set of criteria with which to evaluate and talk about the prototypes they created, and each group selected a couple of representative prototypes. The following are some of the finding da Vinci design criteria that were established: the concept should reflect art, science, and the convergence of the two. It should be thought-provoking, have an underlying meaning or message, and impact the life of the school. It should respond to what happens in the space—be interactive or undergo a change due to some action upon it.         Read more and see photos.

  • Design Development Phase II - Adding Upper School Perpectives

    Upper School students had the chance to watch Middle School teams present their concepts and were invited to join any team and further the ideas. The challenge is to honor the core idea while expanding upon its potential, deepening its impact, synthesizing alternative perspectives, and addressing practical considerations with an eye toward potential eventual fabrication. The mentors will have an opportunity to see how the designs are developing and may offer feedback before the final prototype iteration. 
  • Community Choice Phase III - Voting by the SLS Community

    The developed concepts/prototypes will be displayed on this Finding da Vinci webpage. St. Luke's community will be able to view the concepts and learn the story behind the ideas. Everyone will have a chance to select the design that most successfully represents our celebration of art and science converging on the Hilltop.
  • Implementation Phase IV - Executing the Design

    A team of professional fabricators, builders, and architects will help guide the selected design from concept to reality. Team members will play a role in the fabrication process as it unfolds, deepening their understanding of design implementation and construction. The built design solution will be unveiled at a celebration where team members will be honored and a plaque bearing their names will be installed.

Finding da Vinci Mentors

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Mentors' Design Thinking Presentations


St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.