Archimedes density history science lesson physics ancient history ancient greece

Archimedes lesson

Hi! Future Ticia 2023 here, I was sitting down about to write down our Archimedes lesson from a few years ago. I started to create a draft and thought, “I thought I had already written about Archimedes, maybe I should double-check this,” and sure enough there it was. I had a preschool or early elementary Archimedes lesson. Now its’ time to update that and pull it a bit more into line with my more current history lessons. Now back to 2011 Ticia

Archimedes lesson for homeschool history

One more thing before I turn this over to past Ticia, this is all part of a much bigger Ancient Greece Unit, which I’m trying to slowly finish up.

Now tell me the truth, who as soon as I said Archimedes lesson thought of the little owl from Sword in the Stone (affiliate link)?

Or was that just me?  In reality, the owl from the Sword in the Stone could make a fun homeschool history lesson as you send your kids off to find out more about the real person…..  But, that’s not this lesson.  This lesson is about ancient history, and the scientific principles Archimedes devised. This is a density lesson.

Archimedes lesson on displacement and density

(as you can tell there are affiliate links in here)

Archimedes resources

All right, this is the first real update, I’m adding in all of the Archimedes resources I used when teaching this to my high schoolers, and any books my library had that amused me (yes I will still occasionally share picture books with high schoolers).

I swear, our library had some really cool Archimedes books. I distinctly remember a picture book with a dog. Sigh, time has struck again.

Sigh, this is apparently before I started saving my sources for my notes for our history lessons, so I don’t even have that. Shortly after this point, I figured out I need to keep my sources and I copied them into the file. I wrote enough research papers in my schooling to know better.

Let this be a lesson kids, always keep your sources.

However, I do have quite a few videos about Archimedes. Buckle up folks.

Archimedes science lesson

First a few Ted Talks, as a general rule they will be fairly factual, but they are also created to be entertaining.

Hmmm, though now that I think about it, I could almost move that levers video down with my loan science video.

I find the correlation between math and science fascinating. Where is the line between math and science? The math behind levers is also physics.


Archimedes wasn’t just a mathematician, he is also something of a scientist.

And those are my resources for the Archimedes lesson. I’m not too surprised people like the idea of him, so there are more than a few videos about the man.

But really, let’s talk about this Archimedes lesson

For history last week in Mystery of History 1, one of our lessons was Archimedes and his many discoveries and how smart he was in matters of science.  Not so much, according to the story, in his real life.  He may have been the founder of the absent-minded professor archetype.

Archimedes density lesson for preschool

But, back to my point.  Archimedes discovered the concept of mass and density, one day while in his bathtub.  Now, I suppose I could have done this lesson with a bathtub, but that would get into modesty issues and all that, so instead we used some metal toys.

We dropped them in and discovered, shocker of all shockers the water level did rise just like it did for Archimedes.  Now the water level also fell at an astonishing rate because of the imperfect seal of our sink.  I should have done this in a pot or something.

I also should have chosen things more dramatic than Batman, Martian Manhunter, and a matchbox car.  They were all metal and seemed hefty enough.

Archimedes lesson making figures

And, in case you were wondering, the little army men are still wildly popular.  That is now the preferred way of listening to history while enacting their Civil War battles with the cannons repeatedly.  But, Lego history is still a favorite in our house, and my preferred method because I don’t have to spend HOURS, HOURS I say cutting them out.

I have requests for more guys.  They don’t realize how long it takes to cut out all of those little guys.  Really it takes FOREVER……., But they make great reenactments.  Seriously.

Almost high school Archimedes lesson

Of course, first, there was the lecture. We focused on his inventions, and his quote “With a lever long enough I could move the earth.”

Archimedes lesson repeat in high school

We repeated the lesson from before, but this time I used a giant tub in our backyard and they have to make notes.

I really wanted to try and figure out how to make an Archimedes screw, but I didn’t think I had the brain cells to do this, also we apparently did this back during the height of Covid. You can tell because Leezard is still small and little bitty. I think we even tried to see if she was buoyant, and you know what we discovered?

There wasn’t enough water in the tub, she could still stand. Then when we tried again with more water, she hurriedly jumped out with very clear “I am having none of this” vibes.

And now I will move this from my “list of posts to write in the future.” In a year or so when I get my Greek notebooking pages and unit published, I’ll update this with a mini-biography of him.

Want some more in-depth ideas on Greeks or Archimedes?

Or check out the entirety of Ancient History here at Adventures in a Messy Life.

Originally published April 6, 2011


10 responses to “Archimedes lesson”

  1. I remember reading that Archimedes was presented with the task first to figure out if the king's crown jewels are fake or genuine. Then he figured out the way to do it by submerging the crown in the water and looking at the displaced volume. I really don't think daughter would get any of it just yet though.

  2. Cool history and science lesson. I think my kids would like this one.

  3. Christy Avatar

    Very cool!

  4. An Almost Unschooling Mom Avatar
    An Almost Unschooling Mom

    I wonder if I can still find our copy of Sword in the Stone…

  5. Of COURSE I thought of the owl from “The Sword in the Stone” as soon as I saw your title post…

  6. MaryAnne Avatar

    Okay, now I am totally thinking about that owl!

  7. Myrnie Avatar

    I love this!! Why do sinks even have stoppers? Does anybody use them really? Our sinks drain in about five minutes.

  8. My kids love any experiment that involves water. This looks like a fun experiment.

  9. I TOTALLY thought of the owl! That is hilarious.

  10. […] Archimedes- Re-enact his famous experiment and discover density.  No need to also run through the streets naked, or another idea for Archimedes […]

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