Archimedes

Archimedes

There are two videos to choose from to learn about Archimedes.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You will see three other videos about Archimedes’ principle. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project. 

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects in the Projects section. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to test your understanding by taking the quiz.

Take A Deeper Dive!

Activities

Why Do Things Float Or Sink?

In this video, Ashmi Kshirsagar talks about and shows why things float or sink. Try this same experiment. 

What you will need:

  • 2 equal weight balls of play dough (the weight is important!)
  • A pie tin or dish 
  • 2 see-through cups of the same size or a measuring cup
  • Glass or container full of water

What to do:

  • Roll one ball of play dough into a ball.
  • Squish the second ball of play dough into a boat or bowl shape.
  • Place your glass of water inside the pie tin.
  • Fill the glass to the top with water.
  • Carefully drop the ball into the glass full of water. 
  • Observe how much water spilled out of the glass and into the pie tin. Dump the displaced water from the pie tin into 1 of the 2 cups. Alternatively, you can dump it into a measuring cup to measure how much was displaced by the ball.
  • Replace the glass of water back in the empty pie tin.
  • Refill the glass to the top with water. 
  • Carefully drop the playdough boat into the glass full of water.
  • Observe how much water was displaced this time. Measure how much spilled into the pie tin or dump it into the second cup to compare with the amount of water in the first cup. 

Which displaced more water, the ball or the boat? What is the difference between the two objects? 

This is Archimedes’ principle that, as Ashmi says, “If an object displaces less amount of water than its weight, then the object will sink. If an object displaces more water than its weight, then it will float.” This is well illustrated in this page from Weber State University.

Record the experiment using this form from Montgomery Schools. 

Upload the form to your portfolio.

Learn the Archimedes’ Principle Song

Having trouble remembering what Archimedes’ Principle is? Learn this song and record a version of it to upload to your portfolio.

Create an Archimedes’ Screw

Archimedes invented this famous solution to the problem of how to get water or other substances to higher ground. Try making one at home. There are two options, choose the option that works best for you using the materials you have at home. 

Use this form from Montgomery Schools to document your experiment. 

Upload your form to your portfolio. Include photos of the creation if you’d like.

Project

Find Pi Using Everyday Items

Pi is an important number in the mathematics of circles. Archimedes calculated Pi about 2000 years ago, way before calculators or other mathematical tools were invented. Watch the videos to learn what Pi means. Then try the experiment to find Pi in everyday items around the house.

What you will need:

  • 3 circular objects of different sizes
  • Twine, ribbon, or string
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  1. Wrap the twine around the outside of the circle and cut it so that the string is as long as the circle is round. This is the circumference of the circle.
  2. Stretch another piece of twine from one side of the circle straight to the other, right across the middle, and cut. This is the diameter of the circle.
  3. Now measure and record each length of twine.
  4. If you divide your circumference by your diameter, you will find the number for π (pi). You choose whether you want to use a calculator or if you want to write the math out on a paper.
  5. Record your findings in your notebook.
  6. Then try it with the other 2 circular items to see if you come up with the same number.

Upload your recordings to your portfolio. Make note of new terminology you have learned and what each term means.

If you’d like to try the old fashioned way of calculating π, the third video will give you some instructions on how to do so. Share your calculations to your portfolio.

Advanced Projects

Choose at least one.

The Codex of Archimedes

How did Archimedes’ manuscripts disappear for 700 years? Find out more in William Noel’s TED talk. 

At the end of the talk, Mr. Noel asks a question to ponder. 

Use your creative expression to answer the question in your own opinion.

You may feel inspired to write an expository essay (click this link for an explanation of expository writing from Ms. Abena), write a poem, write a song, paint about it, or use your own idea. 

Share your creation to your portfolio.

Invent!

Archimedes is known for having some inventions that seemed to be before his time. The king of Syracuse trusted Archimedes to find truths that seemed impossible to prove and to fend off invaders of war. Rewatch the second intro video or read this article from AncientHistoryLists.com if you need a reminder of those inventions.

You may or may not have a king counting on you like Archimedes did, but there are still challenges to invent solutions to. What everyday challenges can you think of that need solving? Follow his lead and invent something yourself.

This inventure challenge by Susan Casey may help you start getting your inventive wheels spinning. You may choose to use this document from the Center for History of Physics to write your ideas down. Or maybe you would rather use your own notebook or other form to detail your plan.

Now take the big and important step in bringing your invention into the tangible world by building it!

Share your invention to your portfolio.

Books

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.

Read Aloud Books