Chinese Water Clock

Our 10 year old is studying ancient China at school this year, and as part of the curriculum, he had to make a model of a Chinese water clock (being a boy, he was bummed that he didn’t get his first choice, the crossbow).  Fortunately, Jim is really good at these projects, and after a trip to Michael’s for the necessary materials, several copious applications of gorilla glue, and many, many tests on the accuracy of the markings, here is the water clock in all of its glory!

Chinese water clock

For those of you interested in the basic engineering of the water clock, water is poured into the top bucket, which then drains into the bottom two buckets.  The bottom bucket contains a stick inserted into a sponge.  An arrow is attached to the stick.  As the water rises in the bottom bucket, the stick also rises, marking the passage of time.  Sundials were used to calibrate the early water clocks, and the most famous Chinese water clock was constructed in 1088 by Su Song and took 12 years to construct.


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