Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Learning about Egypt

We're doing ancient history this year, and have started with Egypt. The topic of how one irrigates the fields in a country with no rain was right up my intrepid inventor's alley. Hence Little Guy's been on a shaduf-building spree the past few days.

As we walked up to the library on Monday he collected sticks in the park for building a working shaduf. We discussed whether the counterweight should be greater than, less than, or equal two the weight of the water in the bucket.Then there was the question of where the fulcrum should be. And whether or not one lashes the lever to the crossbar; the idea is to scoop up the water, pivot the lever, and pour out the water on higher ground. That's hard to do if the lever has to stay in one spot.

When we got home, Little Guy got out his K'Nex and made a model. "What should I use for the bucket, Mom?" he asked. I shrugged, and said what I usually say: he'd figure it out. Not surprisingly, he did.

Yesterday we mixed up some plaster of paris as a base for the shaduf made of sticks. We've bought an aluminum tray in which to place the finished model; Little Guy wants to put soil over everything and plant grass, so he has something to actually irrigate.Who knows? It might work.

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