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Ancient Greek Inspirations for National Science Week

In celebration of National Science Week (12–20 August 2023) we've pulled together a collection of ancient Greek-inspired science experiments you can try at home.


Ancient Greece was home to an incredible number of scientists whose experiments and discoveries laid the foundations for science today – including Archimedes, Plato, Pythagoras, Ptolemy and many more! Why not celebrate National Science Week by trying one of these at-home activities inspired by ancient Greece and its famous scientists?


Craft an Archimedes screw

The story goes that while the great inventor Archimedes was in Egypt, he saw farmers carrying basin jars of water from the Nile river and was inspired to create an easier method for transporting water to their fields. His solution was the now-renowned Archimedes' Screw! Access our worksheet and gather a few simple materials to try making your own.

(1.5MB PDF opens in new tab)




Tick tock, time to make a water clock

Before modern clocks and mobile phones, how did the ancients track time? The clepsydra, or water clock, was one of the most popular methods in ancient Greece. Construct a water clock of your own using common household materials, or check out this Hellenic Museum blog article for even more history on water clocks and whistling alarms!

(4.9MB PDF opens in new tab)




Chart the skies like a Babylonian

Time for a night sky adventure! Record the moon and stars, and invent some spooky moon omens just like the ancient Babylonians did. All you need is the night sky, a pencil, some imagination, and our Babylonian Night Sky Tablet worksheet.

(913KB PDF opens in new tab)




Meteorites, craters and space cookie experiments!

Mercury – small planet, big craters! Inspired by the planet Mercury, its Roman god namesake and the equivalent Greek gods, Apollo and Hermes, we're baking some interstellar snacks! While you've got the chocolate chips handy, experiment with their impact on the "surface of Mercury" (a floured baking sheet!) to gain an understanding of how its craters came to be.




Channel Helios' rays to grow your own bean sprouts

Without the Sun, our Earth would be a dark and lifeless world! The gravitational pull of the Sun keeps our planet in orbit, and radiates an enormous amount of light and heat that we need to survive. Check out this Argo News Discover & Create article where we meet Helios, Greek god of the sun, and sprout our own beans to witness its power in action.




Have a stellar time building your own solar system

There were a number of prominent astronomers in ancient Greece, who have shaped and changed our understanding of the solar system over time. Check out this blog post to learn about the journey from the geo-centric to heliocentric model of the solar system, and try your hand at building a solar system model of your own.




 

Happy experimenting! If you try any of these activities for National Science Week, we'd love to see how they turn out. Get a parent to tag @Hellenic_Museum on social media or email us at education@hellenic.org.au.

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