Look at what we learn in history...



  • Occupation: Mathematician, physicist, and astronomer
  • Born: 287 BC in Syracuse, Sicily
  • Died: 212 BC in Syracuse, Sicily
  • Best known for: Being a great mathematician and inventor


Archimedes is one of the more interesting characters in the history of Ancient Greece. He lived in the city of Syracuse where he solved problems and created inventions for the king. He was one of the great mathematicians in world history and made many early discoveries.

Working for the King
There are many stories about how and why Archimedes came up with his many inventions. Several of them tell how King Hiero II would request Archimedes to solve different problems. Archimedes would then go off and come up with some ingenious way to help out the king.

Silver or Gold?
One day the king received a new crown made from pure gold. However, he suspected that the goldsmith may have used some silver in the crown to save money. He asked Archimedes to figure out if it was pure gold. Archimedes wasn't sure what to do. He knew the density of gold and the density of silver, but how could he determine the volume of the crown?

He figured it out while taking a bath. He could measure the amount of water the crown displaced and then he could compare that with the weight of the object. Once he had this information, he could determine if the density of the crown matched with pure gold.

Archimedes' Screw
Archimedes used his mathematical skills and genius to create useful inventions. One of his most famous inventions is called the Archimedes' Screw. It was a device that could lift water to higher levels. One of its first uses was to pump water out from leaking ships. It is still used today in some places to move water from low bodies of water to irrigation ditches.

Defending Syracuse
One of the major events in Archimedes' lifetime was the attack of Rome on Syracuse. Archimedes devoted his talents to defending his city from the Romans and came up with some fascinating inventions. Two of his most famous were the Claw of Archimedes and the heat ray.

  • Claw of Archimedes - The Claw of Archimedes was a large crane with a grappling hook on the end of it. When an enemy ship came close to the crane, it would hook the ship's prow and then tip the ship over.
  • Heat Ray - Legend has it that Archimedes used mirrors to concentrate rays from the sun and set enemy ships on fire. This likely would not have worked, but perhaps it was used to distract or blind enemy ships.

Archimedes' true passion was mathematics. He made many discoveries and today he is considered one of the greatest mathematicians in history. Some of his discoveries were in the field of geometry where he worked with spheres, cylinders, circles, and parabolas. He also calculated the value of pi very accurately using a process called the "method of exhaustion." He even used something called "infinitesimals" to perform math similar to modern-day calculus.

After two years of holding off the Romans, the city of Syracuse was finally taken in 212 BC. Archimedes was working on a math problem when a Roman soldier approached him and ordered him to come meet with the Roman general. When Archimedes refused, the Roman soldier grew angry and killed him.

Interesting Facts About Archimedes

  • Legend has it that Archimedes' last words to the Roman soldier who killed him were "Do not disturb my circles" referring to some drawings he had made in the sand.
  • He is sometimes credited with inventing the odometer.
  • The great inventor and astronomer Galileo once described Archimedes as "superhuman."
  • The Fields Medal given to the top mathematicians each year has a picture of Archimedes on it.
  • He discovered the Archimedes' principle in physics which says that the upward buoyant force on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid the body displaces.




All pupils have the opportunity to study different themes and issues across time and underpin their understanding of chronological events which are combined with well-planned in-depth studies to ensure that pupils develop a sophisticated and wide-ranging understanding of history and why studying it matters. 


Excellent links exist between Airedale Junior School and other agencies and the wider community which provide extensive and varied enrichment activities that are fully integrated into the curriculum and are highly effective in promoting enjoyment and achievement in history.



Purpose of Study

At Airedale Junior School pupils are given access to the past through structured teaching of important events in the history of Britain, Europe and other parts of the world.  They are helped to build a clear chronological framework of the development of societies from ancient to modern times by making links across the different study units.  They are given opportunities to investigate local history and to learn about and interpret the past from a range of primary sources. At Airedale Junior School as a result of good and outstanding teaching and learning experiences including visits and workshops, pupils have excellent opportunities to develop their historical knowledge through learning about, and understanding, important aspects of local, national and world events and the histories of cultures other than their own. 



The National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:


·         Know and understand the history of Britain from the earliest times to the present day. Understanding how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world

·         Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind

·         Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’

·         Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses

·         Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed

·         Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales


Link To Our School Policy (History)
Link To Our School Policy (History)