Monday, August 22, 2011


 We read through the first half of chapter 2 in Story of the World today. It was about the Nile River and how the farmers used the yearly flooding to grow crops along its banks. After we made a little Nile river model/experiment out of soil and rocks and tin foil. My kids decided they wanted to add a shaduf onto one of the banks. Not being prepared for this addition to the project I distracted them with K'nex. I told them we could make a shaduf but not for our model. They were happy with that.

So they went right to work. Each child wanted to do theirs all on their own and even though they all seemed to work in the end not one of them turned out the same. Ian was the quickest. He was clever and even added anchors to help it be more stable on the edge of the couch or table.

 We had some good discussions about how long our beams should be on either side of the fulcrum. I loved it that my kids remembered that term from our study of simple machines last year. They  experimented a bit with different  lengths and different weights on either end. It was a fun, impromptu review.
 Here is mine.
 Molly just had a great time playing with all the different pieces scattered about on the floor. She made a few lollipops and then just enjoyed putting the wheels on her fingers. I guess she got a thrill from being able to put her little fingers in those tiny holes.
 Ian started to really get creative and even built a little man who got to ride on the shaduf up and down, up and down.
 Sophie got in on that action and built herself a farmer but her little man was doing what the farmers were supposed to do and pulled on the rope end.
 Henry struggled a bit with his design. He hadn't quite figured out how to build a strong base and have the bars shift back and forth and he didn't want any help. He just diligently kept at it and finally came up with a shaduf all his own.
 He had to redo it and remake it over and over again until it worked like it was supposed to but he finally got it to work.
This was a great project. I wish I had thought of it but it just sort of happened because my kids asked for it.

We don't get the K'nex out enough. I love it when we get out some of our toys and we really make use of our knowledge as well as our imaginations.

1 comment:

Bibliophile said...

This article was really interesting. I had no idea what a "shaduf" was (in the title). It's good to see the kids make this creative effort--and each made their own version. Good day!