Monday, May 26, 2014

Ice Cube Roman Arch



Phyllis at All Things Beautiful posted a picture in one of her weekly reviews, that had me totally captivated.  It was an arch built out of what looked to me like pieces of an egg carton.  I followed the picture link back to homebirthmum, and discovered the arch, a project from Marti Ellen's Primary Physics, The Principles Behind Roman Machines, was made from plaster of Paris "ice" cubes.


Sadly, the book is not available at our local library, or any of my favorite online bookstores.

I bookmarked the project for a day when I'd have that much plaster of Paris on hand, and was preparing to move on, when it dawned on me...


...it's summer - or pretty much summer, anyway...


...and while we might be out of plaster of Paris...


...we have plenty of ice, some of it even in ice cube trays, like the ones called for in the project. 

Real ice adds an element of urgency to building an arch, making it feel more like a game - and not school work sneaking into summer break. 

Can you complete a standing structure before the ice melts?


We had some frozen tonic water cubes, too...


...which proved even easier to build with, and would have glowed in the dark...


...if our room had actually been dark.  Looking at the pictures of that one later, I realized we left out the key stone in the center, which is why it had a gap near the top.  Still, it was fun to build (not easy - but fun), and it stayed standing...


...so we're counting it as a summer success.

16 comments:

Dawn said...

Awesome. The tonic water makes it even more exciting. What a wonderfully educational idea.
Blessings, Dawn

Sunita said...

I found the website for that book. I'm not sure though if we can order it for shipping to the US, though. It looks like a fun book! http://www.primaryphysics.com/

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sunita - It does look like a good book. So does the one for Leonardo.

Kendra said...

Ha! We have this book that I picked up at a local Leonard da Vinci display, & we were debating how to make it work. ice cubes, clever!!

Ticia said...

That is seriously cool. We actually have the right kind of ice cube tray, so I want to give it a try!

Sunita said...

I just ordered it. :) They do fulfill international orders. They asked how I found out about the book and I gave them your blog.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sunita - Let me now what you think of it. I hope it's as good as it looks.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

What a fun project! And in winter you could try for a bigger arch outside :)

Sunita said...

Yes! And study this picture of an arch from this past winter's ice palace in my town, Saranac Lake, NY. It's not quite a Roman-style arch, but still impressive to see what they create without toppling anything onto visitors' heads: http://www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com/

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sunita - That is awesome. I think we might have to take Natalie's advice, and try that this winter :)

Sunita said...

We got our Roman Machines book from Australia yesterday! I also got Primary Physics Book 1. Both books are totally great. They have all these fun, easy exercises that demonstrate principles of physics. I'm going to order more in the series when we finish these two. I remember an old post of yours about how you were stopping yourself from buying more school books because you went through your closet and found so many you haven't used yet or could use all over again. I think of that all the time and use it as a guide - no joke! (My bookshelves and wallet appreciate it.) But I broke the rule in ordering these two new physics books, and it was worth it! They are clear and concise for kids to read and understand, and they have great thinking exercises to hammer home each physics principle. My kids are 5 and 9, but I think the exercises are all great for even high schoolers.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Sunita - That's awesome. I'm really tempted to order them too, but I'm trying to take my own advice :)

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, try this link.
http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/physics.html

They are free ideas.

Mrs G said...

Here is another great site
http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Education/Programs/Do-it-yourself-science/Physical-sciences-activities.aspx

Kathy Pine said...

I love this project because unlike so many science activities for kids, it uses just a simple item we have on hand at home, and very little setup! I can't wait to try it out and see how hard it really is... thanks for sharing all the great photos and inspiration. Glad to have discovered your blog!

Christina said...

What a cool idea! We will have to give this a try- thanks for sharing!