Carving Stone with Copper
Lesson plan based on Amenemhet
Simulate and evaluate the process of carving stone with copper tools.
Skills and Focus: Physics
Subject Area: Science
Thematic Connection: Connecting Past and Present
Grade Level: Secondary School
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Understand the properties of copper as a material for making tools.
Understand the properties of different chisel points.
Gain practice taking notes on qualitative and quantitative data.
Instructional Materials Needed
Story: How Was This Made?
Copper bars (6" in length, 1/4" thick)
Hammers and one or two anvils
Marble or limestone slabs (rough surface texture)
Caution: All students must wear safety goggles throughout this activity.
Step 1: Each student (or group) should shape the tip of a copper bar into a chisel form by hammering against the anvil. Encourage students to form different tip shapes: points, thin blades, or thick blades.
Step 2: Have students use the chisels to chip away at the stone slabs, trying to make a 2" x 2" x 1/4" square and a 3" x 1/4" straight line. Each student or group should take notes about how long it takes a chisel to deform or become dull enough that it must be reshaped. These notes should include measurements of the original width of the blade, the number of blows it takes to deform the blade, and the number of times the blade must be reshaped to create the specified carvings.
Step 3: Finally, discuss the activity with the class.
Critical Thinking Ask students to
explain whether narrow blades become dull more quickly than wide blades.
conclude whether the reshaping of the blades makes them harder or more brittle.
assess how easy or difficult it must have been for the ancient Egyptians to cut stone with copper tools. Students should use the data they collected to support their conclusions.
This activity meets Illinois State Goal 13: Have a working knowledge of the relationships among science, technology, and society.
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