Sometimes I put a homeschool activity in my planner and know that there is about a 50/50 chance that I will actually feel like doing it when the day comes. The percentage goes WAY down if I have never done it or am unsure about some aspect of it. Such was the case with the "Make an Aqueduct" activity from the Story of the World Activity Book (Volume 1, Chapter 28). They don't give pictures and I couldn't quite wrap my mind around how it was supposed to look in the end. Thankfully, I felt motivated enough that day to give it a try, and step by step we figured that thing out. It ended up being pretty simply, so I thought I'd share the step-by-step photos in case anyone else is feeling as lost on it as I was!
Step ONE: Make the Dough
We used a basic salt dough recipe because I was not actually sure where to get play sand in the city that we are currently in. Salt dough is SO very easy and the ingredients are almost always on hand.
1 cup of salt
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of water
Just stir and knead. If you are feeling stressed going into the activity, just knead a little longer. Its a great stress buster!
Step TWO: Roll and Cut
If you have every made sugar cookies, you can do this step too! Print the template from the activity book and cut along the outline. The picture really explains it best.
Step THREE : The First Bake
Bake your archways at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. We had a lot of dough left after this, so while it baked, I let them use half of it to make Roman coins. You will need some of it for the next step.
Step FOUR : Build the Aqueduct
After letting the archways cool for a couple of minutes, you can start building. Even if it came out a bit funky shaped, just use the clay to fill in some of the gaps. If I were to do it over, I would have used my other baking sheet, because this one is not quite flat. Use as much dough as you need to make feet. Then, make a small curved cavity for your toilet paper roll to sit on top. This was the trickiest part because the dough wanted to droop. But it still ended up working in the end.
Step FIVE : Build the Pipes
We only had one paper towel roll, so I made the remaining portion out of a piece of construction paper. I wrapped the whole thing in contact paper since we would be pouring water through it and it wasn't very thick.
Step SIX : Build the "City"
We took a small take-out container, but I think they recommend a yogurt cup in the Activity Book. The hardest part here was making a hole big enough to get the straw through (and not crinkle it), but not took big to leak. Probably some electrical tape or play dough would have worked great for that but we didn't have them on hand.
Step SEVEN : Let the Water Flow!
Let them take turns pouring water down the pipe and see how the water flows to each "house" or plate. If its not working, this can be a great STEM project to make them trouble-shoot why its not flowing (for ex. the incline is off, the straws are scrunched, the straws aren't inclined enough, etc)
Step EIGHT : Reality Check!
When your oldest pupil makes up a song about how boring this activity is, make them write a sentence about aqueducts 100 times. Hopefully I am the only one who got to this step, but you know, that's the reality of things sometimes! If things are still going well at this point, you could also have them paint it instead :)
If you do not have the Story of the World Activity Book, or are following a different curriculum all together, you can still make this aqueduct very easily by following the visuals. The most important thing is to make sure that your archways are higher at one end and gradually (about 1/2 in total) slant down.
Luke and I are married and have five little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, homeschooling and graphic design.
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