archimedes, education, eureka -


Over 2000 years ago, a king, concerned about the honesty of the goldsmith he asked to make a new crown, asked the smartest man in his city to check into it. That man was Archimedes.

His name should be familiar to every student you teach. About the power of levers, he famously said: give me a long enough rod and a place to stand and I can move the World! His estimate for the value of Pi: 22/7, was relied upon for centuries. He also developed the mathematical principals of buoyancy.

He thought for a long time about how to prove the crown was solid gold without destroying it. One day he was taking a bath and noticed that when he lowered himself into the tub the water rose. This simple observation gave him the insight he needed. The volume of an object can be measured by the water it displaces when submerged. Then, the weight divided by the volume would calculate the density. He realized the density of the crown would be altered by the addition of any other metal to the gold and that was the proof he was looking for to prove the goldsmith had cheated the king!

He jumped out of his bath and ran home through the streets of Syracuse exclaiming “Eureka! Eureka!” all the way. (Eureka means ‘I found it!’ in Greek.) In his excitement he forgot to put on his clothes! Archimedes’ principals of buoyancy are still used today.

There is a sad ending to this story. The city where Archimedes lived was sacked by Roman soldiers in 212 BCE. Apparently, Archimedes was lost in thought when a Roman soldier broke into his home and commanded him to come with him to meet the Roman leader. Unconcerned, Archimedes ignored the soldier and was killed. His last words were thought to have been: “Don’t disturb my circles!”

Enthusiasm for learning may not always produce screaming students running naked through the halls. However, it should produce excitement, passion, and the I-can’t-wait-to-tell-you moments! We believe that makerspaces create those moments. Will you join us in creating future “Eureka” moments? #madeinamakerspace

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