Use this Readers Theatre script to introduce History, Maths, or Science topics.
- King Hiero
- King's Jeweller
Props and costumes:
- Ancient Greek looking costumes
- rock spray painted gold
- A balance
Narrator: Once upon a time (a VERY long time ago), in the city of Syracuse in a faraway land called Sicily, there lived a man named Archimedes, who loved Pi
Audience/Archimedes: (rubbing stomachs) mmm.. pie. (NB actions for each character may be repeated each time their name is mentioned, as desired.)
Narrator: Not that kind of pie! I mean, you know... the diameter of a circle divided by its.. oh never mind! Anyway, Archimedes, who loved Pi lived almost 2 and a half thousand years ago. At the same time there lived a jeweller, who loved gold
Jeweller/Audience: (rubbing fingers together) cha-ching!
Narrator: and the King of Syracuse, Hiero, who loved... himself
King/Audience: (thumbs up) eeeeey!
Narrator: Now it so happened that one day King Hiero, who loved... himself wanted a new crown. He heard about the excellent work of the jeweller who loved gold and decided to hire him as his new jeweller.
King Hiero: Hey! You! I hear you're good with gold! Take this gold and use it to make me a new crown!
Jeweller: (looking shifty) Why yes your majesty... it would be my pleasure!
Narrator: The jeweller, who loved gold, took the gold that the king, who loved himself, had given him. A few days later he returned with a beautiful new crown. But the king was suspicious.
King Hiero: I'm suspicious (looks suspicious)
Narrator: He had heard that the jeweller who loved gold was not to be trusted. He didn't say anything just yet; instead, he called in the best mathematician in the city – Archimedes, who loved Pi.
King Hiero: Archimedes! Oh where aaaaare you?
Archimedes: (confused) I'm... right here, Your Majesty.
King Hiero: Ah, yes of course. Lost my glasses you know. Anyway, I suspect that the jeweller who loves gold may have stolen some of my gold and put an inferior metal in this crown. I'd like you to find out for me, but you must not destroy the crown.
Archimedes: It is a nice crown. (takes the crown and walks off thoughtfully).
Narrator: The King, who loved himself waited... and waited... and waited........ until suddenly, a few days later, Archimedes, who loved Pi ran into the throne room, dripping wet, absolutely starkers, shouting:
Archimedes: (dancing up and down) Eureka! Eureka!!
Narrator: (whispers loudly to Archimedes) Speak English, they can't understand you!
Archimedes: Oh, yes... I mean, I found it! I found it!!
Narrator: Thank you! The King, who loved himself, was startled, but had the presence of mind to get Archimedes a bathrobe. Once things had calmed down a little, Archimedes, who loved Pi, explained that he had been in the bath (the best place to think), when he had hit upon the realisation that two things that weigh the same in the air, may not weigh the same in water.
Archimedes: That's right! You see, when you put something in the water, the water gets pushed out of the way, and then the object gets pushed up with a force equal to the weight of the water! That's buoyancy! And so if this crown, O King, is made up of something less dense than gold, it will float a little higher in the water than a lump of gold with the same weight!
Narrator: That sounds confusing! Anyway, the upshot of all this, apparently, was that Archimedes, who loved Pi, could test whether the jeweller, who loved gold had stolen from the King, who loved himself. All he had to do was put the crown on some scales and balance it with some pure gold, then dip the whole scale into a bucket of water.
King Hiero: Brilliant! Call the jeweller in here and lets do the test!
Narrator: The jeweller, who loved gold was called in and the test was performed. When the scales were dipped into the bucket of water, a remarkable thing happened: the gold sank down lower than the crown.
Archimedes: Aha! Your Majesty, this is proof that something in that crown is less dense than pure gold! This jeweller, who loves gold, has stolen from you!
Jeweller: (falls to his knees) It's true! It's all true! I substituted some of the gold with copper and used it to make a really pretty paper weight. Please, don't be too harsh with me! I'm sorry!
Narrator: And so the jeweller who loved gold was found out, and was sent to a a deep dark dungeon, but Archimedes, who loved Pi was given much honour and fame for his brilliance. Archimedes lived a long time, and invented many useful machines, as well as coming up with ingenious mathematical proofs, and giving an extremely accurate value for Pi.
Archimedes: Yes, about 6 dollars for a really tasty cream pie, I think!
Narrator: No, no no! I mean the circle type of Pi!
Archimedes: Oh, yes, I did that too. 3.14159265358979...
Narrator: (interrupting) Yes, yes, anyway, Archimedes lived to about 75 years old, when he was killed by a Roman soldier whilst contemplating a mathematical drawing he had made on the ground. His last words are reported to have been...
Archimedes: Don't disturb my circles!
Narrator: Whereupon he was killed by the enraged soldier. His gravestone carried a sculpture of a sphere and a cylinder, reflecting his favourite mathematical proof. Archimedes, who loved Pi, is widely regarded as the best ancient mathematician, and one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. His name is still known to this day, and every time a mathematician has a bath, they think of him.