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15 August 2011


Photo credit: Wikipedia
We learned in Story of the World about ancient farmers using a shaduf to irrigate. Monkey asked me how it works, and I had some guesses, but looking at the descriptions, it became clear to me that I didn't know. But I also found some interesting clips on YouTube of some homemade shaduf projects. Pretty soon I'm thinking, "I could do that." So after lunch, we did.

Materials we used:

step ladder
 6 foot staff
several feet of rope
masking tape
child's sand bucket
4 cans of fruit

What we did:

We used the rope to hang the staff from the ladder, and secured the rope in the center with some masking tape. It wasn't terribly sturdy, but it did do the job. Next, we taped 4 cans, totaling about 3.5 pounds, to the back end of the staff with masking tape. The various things I read indicated that the counterweight ought to equal the bucket of water. This was not what I would have expected, but it turned out very interesting once we built it. Then we attached the bucket to the other end with more masking tape, and let Monkey go at it, moving water from our wading pool to a large bucket.

The little guy didn't like how cold the water was straight from the hose, so he supervised the process from just outside the pool.

Meanwhile, Monkey experimented with different ways of using the machine, and found that some ways of using the shaduf are much, much easier to do than others.

The masking tape on the bucket end and fulcrum lasted for about an hour, which for one happy little boy was just about perfect. He was almost (though not quite) ready to be done, and it was time to go inside and fix dinner when the tape gave out. In addition to a very memorable afternoon playing with a shaduf, he also bumped into a number of science concepts: levers and fulcrums most particularly. We didn't make a big deal out of that part of the project, but when we do study them he'll have hands-on experience to draw on. I like that.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Looks like a really fun project, kudos to you for making it happen :)!


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