Another Science Experiment Gone Awry

How did Archimedes invent all those cool contraptions that my kids and I cannot reproduce for the life of us…. only 2,000 years later with advanced tools and apparatus???  That’s what I want to know.  The Screw looks simple enough, but to make one that works?  Good Grief!  (My kids asked me yesterday how grief can be good. Whatever.)  We’ve got tubing wrapped all around the broom handle out back and a huge container of water still waiting to be moved to the other empty container.  How many times do you have to turn the deal before the water moves???

And the catapult…. you’d think some rulers, rubberbands, duct tape, a tennis ball and three numbskulls could shoot the blasted thing.  Nope.

We did figure out and re-inact successfully the water-displacement theory.  When you push Barbie in the 8 cup glass measuring cup holding 6 cups of water, the water line went up exactly one cup.  (Thank heavens for an easy measurement!)  The one cup of water weighed EXACTLY the same as Barbie.  Voila! 

We are scientists.   Brave and smart. (Only 7 more days of school!)

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6 Responses to “Another Science Experiment Gone Awry”

  1. Gramp and Gram R. Says:

    Suggestions from an old (very old) mechanic/FE. I haven’t seen Archimedes water screw but I believe your tubing around a broom handle needs to be changed to tubing around something maybe 8″ to 10″ in diameter (a very large hose). I presume your broom handle was into the water supply at an angle, right? With your tubing wrapped around a larger diameter tube/column, then there is room for water to “puddle” in the bottom of each wrap and as you rotate the whole thing, the “puddle” at the bottom of each wrap will move up the bottom of each wrap and eventually reach the tube opening at the top. Did it work?

    P.S. How about a little engineering sketch of your catapult?

  2. Gramp and Gram R. Says:

    P.S. Forgot to mention it above but surely you are rotating the whole thing in the correct direction??

  3. rixgal Says:

    Thanks Grumps. We did figure out that the tubing rotations were too wide, not creating room to puddle. I will suggest a wider tube to the young scientists tomorrow. And yes, at least we were rotating in the correct direction. We also are going to try some food coloring in the water so we can more easily see the movement in the clear tube. Thanks for your suggestions.

  4. Jennie C. Says:

    Surely you are rotating it in the correct direction. Surely!

    I can teach your boys to make a potato cannon that can fire potatoes 100 meters or so. I’m sure Archimedes would have thought of it if aerosol deodorant had been around back then.

    Mine has issues with the firing mechanism, but is still quite fun.

  5. rixgal Says:

    We have the book to build the potato gun, just haven’t gotten there yet. That is a GREAT summer project.

  6. Gramp and Gram R. Says:

    Hey, that potato gun would be excellent for shooting grapefruit pieces – much further than your next door neighbors roof. I (Gram) still chuckle about that story. Gram

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