Leonardo da Vinci is widely regarded as the greatest polymath in history.

And he may have left secret messages in his works. It’s a fact that’s inspired even modern-day pop culture.


But what if da Vinci wasn’t the only one leaving secrets behind? What if another figure concealed and protected a da Vinci painting long thought to be lost? Delve into one of the most contested mysteries in the art world and use a unique combination of art history, science and mathematics as your classroom attempts to lay these questions to rest.

1. Unlock


Each week, download challenge bundles — including a backgrounder, lesson plan, worksheets and other resources. Access brand new problem sets each week.

2. Solve


Put your team’s creative and analytical skills to the test with a problem question set formatted as multiple choice questions, single answers and short essay answers. Submit your answers each Friday, midnight GMT, for three weeks.

3. Discover


Once you submit your answers, explore what happened when real-life investigators were set the equivalent challenge through a specially-created four-part web video series.

4. Win


Go head-to-head with other brilliant teams from around the world to compete for incredible prizes sponsored by Ward’s Science. From curriculum sets to a brand-new library, winning classrooms will be sent parcels filled to the brim with exciting and innovative new resources!

There are no entry fees. This competition is completely free for all classrooms (students ages 11 to 16) to enter. In order to enter, schools must register here. Each classroom will be assigned a login username and password to access the virtual platform and accompanying materials in April 2016.

The competition and all necessary resources will all be accessible through our virtual platform — a simple website — which means that any classroom, far and wide, can participate. Teachers (or team leaders) may access the downloadable challenge bundle three days before the challenge opens. Answers can be submitted from each challenge’s opening day.

This competition is suitable for art, science and mathematics classrooms alike — or an after-school club. Each challenge is designed to fit neatly within a “home room” context and can be run in 20 minutes. In addition, we provide extendable lesson plans for longer, 50-minute sessions that explore each topic in considerable depth. There are two age categories for each challenge activity: 11 to 13 and 14 to 16. These levels ensure that group finds the competition adequately challenging, but not impossible — and most of all, enjoyable.

All challenges are designed to be completed without any equipment.

Please see above for a step-by-step introduction to the competition format. Each challenge does not have to be completed on the day the accompanying bundle is downloaded — but all answers must be submitted to us via the virtual platform by the same Friday, at midnight GMT.

A breakdown of available prizes is available here. Finalists will be announced in May 2016. We aim to have winners announced by June 2016. Both age groups are competing for the same overall prizes, sponsored by Ward’s Science. The adjustment for difficulty between the age group challenges ensure that all classrooms are on equal footing.

STEAM is an acronym devised to encourage the integration of the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. The paradigm of art and science as complementary is gaining ground — with art promoting the application of creative thinking and lateral approaches to scientific problem solving. Find more information, including case studies, here.