FFEC is working on adding more engineering and alternative energy projects and applications on the property. These students took on a big trial project with the Archimedes Screw at the Fernbrook irrigation pond after building mini waterwheels also during the semester.
The following article was written for our newsletter by Sarah K, 13 years old.
This fall, I participated in the Upper Level Homeschool classes at Fernbrook Farm. Our topic was Water Ecology, and we spent the semester learning about water, its place in nature, and how humans affect the water supply. Six teens attended this semester, and we were educated and entertained by Ms. Pam, our instructor. During the last two classes, we designed and built an Archimedes Screw. An Archimedes Screw is a tool that transports water uphill with out a pump. Though it was rather useful in the time of Archimedes, it isn’t as necessary now as it was back then. Nevertheless, we decided to proceed with our project.
Final Construction Changes
An Archimedes Screw basically looks like a pipe with a giant screw inside it, hence the name “Archimedes Screw”. However, we were unable to find a screw quite big enough at the hardware store. So we chose a different design that used readily accessible materials. To make it, we took a 14-foot PVC drainpipe and wrapped a spiral of aquarium tubing around it, attaching the tubing with duct tape (pink zebra stripes!) It didn’t look awesome, but we hoped it would work. Using more PVC and more duct tape we built a supportive frame and hand crank. We looked at our masterpiece, and thought (or I thought, at least) I really hope this works! It had better work… Then we hauled it down to the pond, and placed it in the spot we had chosen for it. David, a member of the class, stepped forward and began to turn it… and our great Archimedes Screw fell down. Unfortunately there was a problem with one of the supporting poles, which we then fixed. Mostly. Right now, you have to steady the pole after a few cranks of the handle.
If you walk down to the Fernbrook Irrigation Pond, you can see our majestic Archimedes Screw for yourself, and you can marvel that it actually works most of the time! - Sarah K.