This is your chance to be really creative! Your project is to design a 3-Dimensional Hanging Mobile that shows how the wheel was invented.
Your Mobile must have a large top piece and six miniature models of what the Sumerian “wheel” looked like at each stage of development. Refer to the AntiquityNOW Kids’ Blog for details to help you complete this project.
Figure out a way to build tiny crates, rollers, runners and finally wheels and axles. Use your imagination: you can use small boxes for the crates or make your own crates and runners out of foamboard, corrugated cardboard or other materials. Dowel sticks, clay or rolled cardboard could work for the rollers and axles. You may use glue, tape, nails and any kind of fastener to make the pieces stay together.
These do NOT have to be working models. The rollers and wheels do not have to spin. Just make your miniature models look as close as you can to the sketches in the blog. Paint or color them to look realistic. Each crate should be 2½” to 3” wide and 3½” to 4 ½” long. The roller should be about 1” longer than the crate is wide.
The top of your Mobile should be made of fairly strong material, for example foamboard, corrugated cardboard, or wood—or you may want to use a round or wheel-shaped object to hang your models from: Possibilities are a bicycle wheel or tire, a large gear, an old round wall clock, an old lamp shade. Use your imagination! Decide if you prefer your mobile’s top section to hang vertically or horizontally. Brainstorm with lots of ideas to come up with the best one for your mobile.
WARNINGS: Be careful if you decide to use a metal object—make sure that it is not rusty. Also, if you need to use tools for sawing, etc., ask an adult to help you. Wear goggles if you are using tools or working with wire. ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FIRST.
On a piece of posterboard, write the title, “The Sumerians Invent the Wheel” and fasten it to the top of your mobile. Your mobile must have this title. Your teacher may also want you to add more details like a date and key points from the story.
Hang your miniature models on the mobile. Space them out so that they do not bump into each other. (Try different lengths of string, twine or wire.)
Write the number and name of each stage of development on small card (see the kids’ blog) and either attach it to the string or to the model itself. This way, people looking at your mobile will be able to follow the critical changes made by the Sumerians.
Finally, attach a string, cord or decorative chain to the top so that you can hang up your mobile. Make sure it is strong enough to handle the weight of the materials you have used.
The Sumerians put a lot of careful thought and imagination into the wheel until they came up with a practical, two-wheeled cart that could easily move a heavy load. Use your own imagination and creativity to make your mobile unique and to show that you can come up with ideas that no one else has thought of!