Thursday, March 6, 2008

Reinvent the Wheel

Our new science unit is Inventions. We're using a book called Reinvent the Wheel, and so far we've reinvented the wheel (naturally), the shadouf (an ancient Egyptian device for watering crops, and a catapult.

First, we invented the potter's wheel, but I didn't take any photos. Next, we had to figure out how to use the wheel to make it easier to transport our cartload of goods to the marketplace. Dragging a travois over rough ground (okay, carpet) is a real drag. Our cart wheels were kind of floppy, so they didn't roll smoothly, but we were able to stablize them a little bit with some Play-Doh (I'm sure that's what the ancient Mesopotamians used as well).

We couldn't find a good forked stick for our shadouf. That's one of the problems of living where there are mostly palm trees. So we used the handle of our handy dandy pitchfork. The lever stick didn't swivel easily to water the crops, but the rocks taped to the stick sure made it easy to lift a heavy bucket of water -- just imagine the little paper cup is several times bigger.

-------Photos coming when Blogger isn't being so SLOW-------------

We built the catapult on a day when Scott stayed home sick from work so he could play with it, too. I don't mean he stayed home so he could play with the catapult. He was home, so we decided to build the catapult that day instead of the next day. Our farthest launch was 9.5 feet with a mini-marshmallow, and 5 feet with a large marshmallow. Science that involves marshmallows is always fun!