If you are like me, then you have a big container of recycled materials and cool items you can’t bear to get rid of! That’s pretty much all you need to make an Archimedes screw. This simple machine for kids is a fun engineering activity to try!


What Is The Archimedes Screw?

Archimedes’ screw, also known as the water screw, screw pump or Egyptian screw, is one of the earliest machines used for moving water from a lower area to a higher area.

The Archimedes screw pump works by turning a screw-shaped surface inside a circular pipe. As the screw turns the material is forced up the pipe in a process called displacement.

Archimedes screw is named after Greek philosopher and mathematician Archimedes who first described it around 234 BC.

Though there is evidence that it had been used in Ancient Egypt a long time before that. It is thought that Archimedes used it to remove water from the hold of a large ship that was very leaky.

What Is The Purpose Of The Archimedes Screw?

The purpose of the Archimedes screw was to make it much easier to move water than lifting it by hand with buckets.

Archimedes screw pumps are still used today in wastewater treatment plants, and for removing water from low lying regions.

Find out how to make a simple Archimedes’ screw pump model with our step by step instructions below. Let’s get started!


Make An Archimedes Screw Machine

This Archimedes screw uses cardboard and a water bottle to create a machine to move cereal!


  • Circles template
  • Water bottle
  • Scissors
  • Card stock
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Cereal or beans (to lift)


STEP 1: Cut off both ends of your water bottle and cut a small hole in the neck.

STEP 2: Roll a piece of paper into a tube.


STEP 3: Print and cut out your circles. Use them as templates to cut the card stock. Make sure to cut through the line and center circles too.


STEP 4: Tape each circle around your rolled paper. Attach the end of each circle to the next one, and tape each circle to the center paper roll as well.


STEP 5: Place your screw inside the bottle and make sure it turns.


STEP 6: Place the screw into a bowl of cereal, making sure the cereal can enter through the hole you cut in the neck of the bottle.


STEP 7: Now twist your screw and watch what happens!


More Simple Machine Projects To Make

If you want some more hands-on simple machine projects you can engineer try some of these ideas:

STEM For Kids

So you might ask, what does STEM actually stand for? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The most important thing you can take away from this, is that STEM is for everyone!

Yes, kids of all ages can work on STEM projects and enjoy STEM lessons. STEM activities are great for group work, too! You can read more about the valuable life lessons that STEM can provide kids here.

STEM is everywhere! Just look around. The simple fact that STEM surrounds us is why it’s so important for kids to be a part of, to use, and to understand STEM.

From the buildings you see in town, the bridges that connect places, the computers we use, the software programs that go with them, and to the air we breathe, STEM is what makes it all possible.

Interested in STEM plus ART? Check out all our STEAM Activities!

Engineering is an important part of STEM. What is engineering in kindergarten and elementary? Well, it’s putting together simple structures and other items and learning about the science behind them in the process. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of doing! 

Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources to help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Printable Engineering Projects Pack

Get started with STEM and engineering projects today with this fantastic resource that includes all the information you need to complete more than 80+ activities that encourage STEM skills!