water clocks

The Megaband and the Elephants are exploring another form of visibly measuring time by trying to create their own water clocks. Their exploration phase has begun with history, like the Hawks have done, and both groups have explored various timekeeping devices used throughout human experience.

Christie writes of the Megaband, “Last week we studied ancient timekeeping devices like the elephant clock, water clocks, automaton clocks, and incense clocks. We are all working on trying to replicate one of these clocks. As a group, we are trying to create water clocks, too. We became fascinated with the water clock after watching a clip from a documentary about the water clock and how Ctesibius helped to evolve the classic water timer (a fixed amount of water flowing out of a jar) to a reliable, consistent water clock (keeps track of minutes, hours, days).”

Their explorations have brought them into learning to calculate volume, and as they try to regulate a constant flow of water from the bottoms of their cups, they have also looked to calculate the flow rate of water from their cups given the diameter of the hole. “We noticed that the water pressure does most certainly drop as the water level nears the bottom of the cup,” Christie writes. “On Wednesday, we timed how long it took water to drain out of those same diameters of holes, but we created a system that maintained a steady water pressure.”

Phillip sent along a couple pictures of the Megaband in process, with captions:

“Quinn completed our first set of trials for the 3/32″ hole. It drains in just about one minute.”


“Science! Calculating flow rate through various sized holes while keeping a constant volume in the draining cup to maintain constant water pressure”


“Following a thread: with a goal of eventually understanding and calculating volume of cylinders, we began with circles. Just a little casual math exploring pi”


The Elephants have started their own iterations of water clocks, starting with an initial drawn design, and moving into the actual building. They are experimenting with creating a water clock that can time out the different group moments of the day: circle, park, lunch, etc.