Archimedes' Inventions: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

In this lesson we'll explore the inventions of the Greek inventor Archimedes. Find out how this brilliant inventor made discoveries that we still use today.

The Lost Book of Math

Imagine finding a dusty prayer book hidden in a wall that is over a thousand years old! This is what happened in 1906 to a professor in Turkey. What was thought to be an ancient book of prayers was actually a great mathematical discovery! And who did this mathematical work belong to? Archimedes!

Who Was Archimedes?

Did you know there is a mountain range and crater on the moon named after Archimedes? Archimedes was one of the world's greatest scientists. He was also an amazing inventor! Archimedes was born into the Greek culture on the island of Sicily in 287 BC. It is believed that he studied in Alexandria, Egypt.


The Archimedes' Screw

In the time of Ancient Greece, how did one go about getting the rainwater out of the hull, or body, of one's ship so it wouldn't sink? This was a problem! Archimedes invented a solution. He made a machine that had a hollow tube with a spiral inside that could be turned with a handle. Water was carried up the tube and out of the boat. Archimedes' Screw was one of the earliest kinds of pumps and is still used today in some countries for irrigation, which is a way to water crops on farms.

Screw Invented by Archimedes

Archimedes' Principle

One day a king asked Archimedes for help. This king had given a craftsman gold to make him a crown. When he received his new crown, he was suspicious that some of the gold had been replaced with silver, and Archimedes was given the task of finding out if the crown was pure gold or not.

Have you ever filled the bathtub too full of water and when you got in it overflowed? Archimedes was taking a bath one day and noticed how the water level rose when he got in. This led to a great discovery. He realized that dense objects sink, and less dense objects float. Density is how solid something is. When Archimedes discovered this, he jumped out of the bathtub and ran down the street yelling, 'Eureka!' meaning 'I've found it.' He'd found a way to test the crown.

Using this principle, Archimedes submerged the gold crown in water. Because of the different densities of gold and silver, he was able to tell that the crown was not pure gold, confirming the king's suspicions.

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