Simple Machines Unit: Screw Hands-On Activities

We started with… a plain old screw!! The kids spent time trying to screw it into an old board:



We have been reading the book, Archimedes and the Door of Science along with this unit. What a terrific book and what a remarkable man Archimedes was!  The book talks about the Archimedes screw as well as lots of other topics — astronomy, math, geometry and more. We loved the imagery of Archimedes pulling a massive ship with pulleys and of course the description of the irrigation screw. I highly recommend this book, but it’s probably better suited to older elementary (grades 3-6).

The Archimedes screw was a machines used to transfer water to irrigation ditches.

It traditionally looks like this…

File:Archimedes-screw one-screw-threads with-ball 3D-view animated small.gif

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

but we made one using plastic tubing, tape and a stick:

SimpleMachines-Archimedes Screw

After the tubing was secured around the stick, we brought it inside to try it out.

For the longest time, we did it totally WRONG!!!  (That’s what science is about, right?!!)  None of us could figure out what we were doing wrong (I bet YOU can immediately from the picture, right?)


It wasn’t until the NEXT day that we figured out why it wasn’t working… we needed that stick at an angle! (A smack-my-head moment for me!) But let me tell you, when our Archimedes screw started spilling water all over the floor, we were totally overjoyed!!


Related Posts:

Don’t miss the 25-page Simple Machines Packet I made or the other hands-on activities we did in connection with this unit:

Simple Machines Worksheets

Other Hands-On Activities from Our Simple Machines Unit:

 Other Science Packets and Materials That Might be of Interest:
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7 Responses

  1. Susie says:

    This looks great! I’d like to do it with my homeschool co-op class. Where did you find the plastic tubing? Thanks!

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