The Science of Ancient Greece
- Friday, September 21, 2012
Why is this important? Like in the story of Archimedes and the King’s Crown, different objects that appear to be the same size may be made of different substances which have different densities.
Archimedes invented many useful things. If you are interested in science, you should read more about him.
Give It a Try #2: Does It Take Up Air Space?
Another Greek scientist was Strato. He enjoyed investigating many scientific ideas and experimented to prove his theories. One scientific idea that Strato experimented to prove was that air has substance and is matter. Let’s learn more and see if we agree with Strato.
- Bucket or tub
- Two one-liter bottles
- Drill (to be used by an adult)
Ask an adult to drill a hole into the bottom of one of your bottles. Fill the bucket three-quarters full of water. Holding the undrilled bottle with its opening facing down, carefully push it straight down into the water quickly. Does the bottle fill up with water? What happens? Now take the bottle with the hole in the bottom and repeat the same procedure. What happens this time? Does the bottle fill up with water?
Think about what we were trying to discover: Does air have substance? One way to see if something has substance is to see if it takes up space. Did the air take up space in the bottle in our experiment? How do you know? Do you agree with Strato that air has substance?
Give It a Try #3: Using Shadows to Measure
Another Ancient Greek, named Eratosthenes, calculated the circumference of the Earth by figuring out the sun’s ray angle and then using shadows to measure distances. Although sources disagree about Eratosthenes’s exact accuracy, they agree that he was within 10 percent of the modern measurement. The fact that this man could so accurately measure the circumference of the Earth in ancient times amazes me. If you too are fascinated by this, check out the advanced picture biography The Librarian Who Measured the Earth to learn more. Now, let’s “Give It a Try” measuring with shadows.
- Bush or small tree (or any straight object outside)
- A helper
Stand the yardstick straight up and down (perpendicular) on the ground. Ask your helper to mark where the shadow of the yardstick ends. Once the end is marked, measure how long the yardstick’s shadow is at the time. Now, with the same yardstick, measure the small tree’s shadow. The lengths of the two shadows are proportional because they are both made by the sun and were measured very close to the same time. So if the yardstick’s shadow was twice as long as the yardstick at 9:30 a.m., then the small tree’s shadow will also be twice as long as the small tree at 9:30 a.m. If the yardstick’s shadow was six feet long and the small tree’s shadow was thirty-six feet long, then we can divide thirty-six by two to find out that the small tree is really eighteen feet tall.
Isn’t it amazing how many different ways we can experiment to discover more about the earth? I am continuously in awe of God’s forethought and the wisdom that is seen in His creation. It always makes me remember and agree with J. Kepler, “That science is merely thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
Melissa Pinkley enjoys life with her husband, Wes. They learn a lot from their four children: Ben, Micah, Levi, and Abigail. Homeschooling goes on 24/7 for the whole Pinkley family. They have been homeschooling for more than ten years. The Lord is gracious and continues to help them follow Him.
Publication date: September 21, 2012
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