How to make a Water Clock

Water Clock

You must be already familiar with digital Wall clock, the beautiful cuckoo clock, and the common alarm clock but have you ever heard of a Water Clock?

Water Clocks were used in the old days to measure time. Although early methods were surprisingly accurate for measuring long amounts of time, eventually man needed to know how to determine the short periods. Thus, man needed a clock. The first clocks were, again, based on the movement of a celestial object; the sun. Sun dial and obelisks used shadows created by the sun to mark time. In China and the Middle East, people created very elaborate water clocks. The most well known was the Sung Su Water Clock, built around 1090 B.C.E. In this activity participants create their own water clock. Let us look at the procedure to make your own Water Clock.

Materials

  • Masking tape
  • Styrofoam cup
  • Pushpins
  • Clear jar
  • Stopwatch
  • Water clock (2)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Water clock sample

Procedure

  1. Use the pushpin to make a hole in the bottom of a Styrofoam cup. Push the tip of the pin through the bottom of the cup from the inside out.
  2. Put a piece of masking tape straight up the side of a clear jar.
  3. Start at the bottom of the jar and make lines on the tape 1 cm apart.
  4. Fasten the Styrofoam cup to the mouth of the jar, either by inserting it into the jar if the mouth is big
    enough or taping the cup to the jar with the masking tape.
  5. Fill the cup with water.
  6. As the water starts to drip, use the stopwatch to record how long it takes the water to reach the first line on the jar. Continue to record the time for each line until the water empties from the cup.
  7. Decorate the water clock by using markers to create hieroglyphics much like the Ancient Egyptians did on their water clocks.
  8. Use the enclosed water clock to show a modern version of how water can still help tell time.

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Practise This Question

Which of the following are not electromagnetic waves