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History of Mathematics

History of Mathematics
History of Mathematics

Print Archimedes Reading Comprehension with Sixth Grade Work

Print Archimedes Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.46

     challenging words:    bilge, hydrostatics, parabolic, re-used, ultra-violet, intellect, pique, goldsmith, luxury, astronomer, physicist, parchment, mathematician, engineer, mechanism, pulley
     content words:    King Hiero, King Hiero II, Could Archimedes, Sand Reckoner, Second Punic War, General Marcus Marcellus

By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     He was a physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor. He was also one of the greatest mathematicians ever known. He was Archimedes of Syracuse.
2     At the time of Archimedes' birth in 287 BC, Syracuse, Sicily, was a Greek colony. All we know of his family was that his father, Phidias, was an astronomer. It is also thought that Archimedes was related in some way to King Hiero, the ruler of Syracuse.
3     It is believed that Archimedes studied in Alexandria, Egypt. There he made two friends, Conon of Samos and Eratosthenes of Cyrene. Conon was a mathematician and astronomer. Eratosthenes was eventually put in charge of the great Library of Alexandria.
4     Math was Archimedes' first love. While he also enjoyed using his intellect to solve other problems, he often used math as the vehicle to figure them out.
5     A story is told about the crown of King Hiero II. He had had a new golden crown made that was shaped like a laurel wreath. He suspected that the goldsmith had cheated him by using silver in addition to gold. Could Archimedes find the proof without damaging the crown?
6     Archimedes did. He noticed that water was displaced when something was put in it. He could use that to help calculate the density of the metal in the crown. He found that the King was right; the goldsmith had cheated him. Archimedes had discovered hydrostatics, and it became known as Archimedes' Principle.
7     He also used the idea of the lever to invent a new way of moving heavy loads. He was the first to use a pulley system known as a block and tackle. It allowed sailors to move heavy loads they couldn't have been able to manage before.
8     The problem of moving water from a lower level to a higher one caused Archimedes to invent a screw pump. He had been asked to design a huge luxury ship for the king. The problem was that the hull could not be made water tight on small ships. The problem would be magnified on a large ship. The screw pump could remove the bilge water from the bottom of the ship and dump it back into the sea.

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

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