Science in Ancient Greece

Level 2 Science – Year 1

This year’s science study is based around the science of Ancient Greece, focusing on topics studied by Greek scientists. The main scientific themes covered are optics (light), the solar system, magnetism*, and simple machines. Alongside these your child will be reading about the history of science in Ancient Greece, including biographies of Eratosthenes and Archimedes.

*Magnetism is not covered in the history of science reading, but was certainly known to the Greeks.

Time Required
Two 30 minute lessons weekly. One lesson will be for reading and narration; the other will be for a hands-on activity or experiment.

Key Resources
Science in Ancient Greece (Kathlyn Gay)
Note: Many topics are covered in a short space in this book. Even if your child is a strong reader, this book is likely to work better as a read aloud, so that you can add explanations as necessary.
Archimedes and the Door of Science (Jeanne Bendick)
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth (Kathryn Lasky)
Home Science Adventures: Light
Home Science Adventures: Magnetism
Available from Rainbow Resource Center (US) and Ichthus Resources (UK) . Kits include all equipment needed for experiments.
Simple Machines: Starting With Science (Adrienne Mason and Deborah Hodge)

Optional Reading

The Fairyland of Science (Arabella Buckley)
Note: Chapter 2 is of historical interest only!+


THEMES: Solar System; Light


Weeks 1 to 4: History of Science
Science in Ancient Greece

(1) Chapter 1: The Story of Ancient Greece
(2) Chapter 2: Greek Ideas About Earth and the Universe, pp.12-16
(3) Chapter 3: Greek Ideas About Earth and the Universe, pp.16-21
(4) Chapter 3: Bringing Ideas Together

Weeks 5 to 12: Solar System

Book suggestion is still to be determined.


Weeks 1 to 12: Light
Home Science Adventures: Light
Note: Two activities are scheduled for certain weeks: these lessons may take a little longer.

(1) Through the Looking Glass – Explore how mirrors reverse images.
and Carnival Mirrors – Discover how curved mirrors change your reflection.
(2) Two Mirror Magic – Construct a mirror that will NOT reverse your image!
(3) Mirror Maze – Use mirrors to direct light through a maze.
(4) The Mysterious Light-Bending box – Explore intriguing light-bending effects.
and Now You See It . . . Now You Don’t! – More amazing refraction experiments.
(5) Water Drops and Other Lenses – Find out what makes a lens a lens.
(6) Moving Pictures – Make a projector with a simple lens.
(7) Fire from the Sun – Focus rays of sunlight to do a small wood burning project.
(8) Catch a Rainbow – Use a water prism to make many rainbows.
(9) Rainbow Glasses- Discover the beauty hidden in ordinary lights.
and Bubble Colors – Where do the colors in soap bubbles come from?
(10) Invisible Colors – See the effects of ultraviolet light.
(11) Polarized Light – Use amazing filters to investigate polarized light.
and Amazing Polarization Experiments – Create fascinating, changing designs and pictures.
(12) The Eerie Glow of Phosphorescence – Investigate glow-in-the-dark effects.

THEMES: Measurement; Magnetism; Eratosthenes; Archimedes


Weeks 13 to 15: Measurement

(13) Science in Ancient Greece – Ch.4: Mathematicians in Ancient Greece
(14) The Librarian Who Measured the Earth: first half
(15) The Librarian Who Measured the Earth: second half

Weeks 16 to 18: History of Science
Science in Ancient Greece

(16) Chapter 5: How Ancient Greeks Healed the Sick
(17) Chapter 6: Applying Science, pp.46-51
(18) Chapter 6: Applying Science, pp.52-55; Chapter 7: The Ancient Greek Heritage

Weeks 19 to 24: Archimedes
Archimedes and the Door of Science

(19) Ch.1: Who was Archimedes
(20) Ch.2: The World of Archimedes, pp.9-15
(21) Ch.2: The World of Archimedes, pp.16-23
(22) Ch.3: Alexandria, pp.23-30
(23) Ch.3: Alexandria, pp.30-38
(24) Ch.4: Archimedes and his Level, pp.39-44 (But what is a level anyway?)


Weeks 13 to 24: Magnetism
Home Science Adventures: Magnetism

(13) Attraction and Repulsion – Investigate the poles of a mystery magnet.
(14) Magnetic Levitation – Two experiments that seem to defy gravity.
(15) What is Magnetic? – Test a variety of objects for magnetic properties.
(16) Our Magnetic Earth – Learn how a compass works as you explore the shape of the Earth’s magnetic field.
(17) Making a Compass – from a needle and a piece of cork.
and The Treasure Map – Use your compass to pace off the directions in a treasure map.
(18) A Magnet’s Reach – Chart and graph how the effect of a magnet changes with distance.
(19) Invisible Force Fields – Observe and draw magnetic fields, created by iron filings in a sealed plastic case.
(20) Magnetic Sculpture – Use the 3D nature of magnetic fields to create arches and other works of art.
(21) A Different Way to Get Magnetism – Use electricity to create magnetic fields.
(22) A Homemade Motor – Create a simple electric motor from a battery, a magnet, some paper clips and wire.
(23) Experiments with your Motor – Find out what role magnets play in a motor.
(24) The Electromagnet – Turn a nail into a magnet that can be turned on and off

THEMES: Simple Machines; Archimedes


Weeks 25 to 36: Archimedes
Archimedes and the Door of Science

(25) Ch.4: Archimedes and his lever, pp.44-53
(26) Ch.5: Archimedes and King Heiro’s Crown, pp.54-60 (to “The goldsmith had cheated him!”)
(27) Ch.5: Archimedes and King Heiro’s Crown, pp.60-69
(28) Ch.6: Archimedes and Astronony
(29) Ch.7: Archimedes and Mathematics
(30) Ch.8: The Measurement of a Circle
(31) Ch.9: Archimedes and Numbers
(32) Ch.10: Archimedes and the Centres of Gravity
(33) Ch.11: The Sphere and the Cylinder
(34) Ch.12: The War Machines of Archimedes
(35) Ch.13: The End of Archimedes
(36) Ch.14: No End to Archimedes


Weeks 25 to 36: Simple Machines
Simple Machines: Starting With Science (Adrienne Mason and Deborah Hodge)

(25) Table trick (lever) p.4, and Balancing act (lever) p.6
(26) Wacky wheels (wheel and axle) p.8
(27) Candy collector (wheel and axle) p.10
(28) Bubble race (wheel and axle – gears) p.12
(29) Going up! (fixed pulley) p.14
(30) Pulling power (moveable pulley) p.16
(31) Egg drop (inclined plane) p.18
(32) Penny lift (inclined plane) p.20
(33) Screwy water (screw) p.22
(34) Twirling toy (screw) p.24
(35) Funny face (wedge) p.26
(36) Mystery machine (complex machine – wedge and wheel & axle) p.28

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