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Lesson Plans


Fw: Making Wax Tablets and Stylus

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Larry Cox (L_J_Cox)
Tue, 9 Mar 1999 20:18:11 -0700


>
>Students in ancient Greece practiced their writing skills on wooden tablets
>that had a layer of wax on one side. A flat raised edge around the sides
>of the tablet served to protect the wax coating. To write on the tablet,
>students used the pointed end of an instrument called a stylus. They used
>the other end, which had been first rounded and then flattened on top,
>as an eraser. A simple stylus was made from a reed; a more elaborate one,
>from ivory. Often several such tablets were strung together by passing
>a string through holes made in the wooden frame.
>
>Now try making your own tablet and stylus. Then, use both to practice new
>vocabulary words!
>
>FOR THE WAX TABLET NOTE: Lumber stores usually have a box of scraps ideal
>for this project. Craft stores also carry suitable supplies.
>
>You Need
>
>old newspapers
>
>1 piece of plywood, 9 x 9 x 1/4 inches
>
>2 pieces of wood, 9 x 1 x 1/2 inches
>
>2 pieces of wood, 7 x 1 x 1/2 inches
>
>wood glue
>
>paraffin or beeswax (old candles are OK)
>
>empty tin can that has been cleaned well (soup or vegetable can is fine)
>
>
>medium-size, top-of-the-stove pan with handle
>
>water
>
>potholders
>
>a large, heavy book
>
>1 Arrange newspapers on a flat surface, such as a table. Place the piece
>of plywood in the middle.
>
>2 Take the two 9 x 1-inch pieces of wood. With wood glue, glue one to the
>left edge of the plywood. Make sure it lines up exactly with the plywood.
>Do the same with the second piece on the right side of the plywood.
>
>3 Take the two 7-by-1-inch pieces and glue one along the top edge of the
>plywood (fitting it between the two 9-inch pieces). Glue the other along
>the bottom edge of the plywood.
>
>4 Put several cakes of wax into the tin can.
>
>5 Place the tin can in the pan. Pour water into the pan until it reaches
>halfway up the tin can. Place the pan on the stove and heat the water.
>As soon as the wax has melted, immediately remove the pan from the stove.
>
>
>6 Using potholders, carefully remove the tin can from the pan and slowly
>pour the liquid wax onto the plywood. Make sure the wax covers the entire
>flat space inside the wooden side strips. Wax should be 3/8 to 1/2 inch
>thick.
>
>7 Let the wax harden.
>
>FOR THE STYLUS
>
>You Need
>
>l wooden dowel, 1/4 of an inch in diameter and 8 to 10 inches in length
>
>
>pencil sharpener (or Exacto or craft knife)
>
>1 Carefully sharpen one end of the dowel until you have a good point. (If
>you use a knife to make the point, please ask an adult to help you.)
>
>2 With a pencil sharpener or a knife, slightly round the opposite end of
>the dowel. Then, flatten the very top of this end.
>
>NOTE: If you want to make more than one tablet and string them together,
>make two simple tablets following the directions above. Drill two holes
>on the left side of each tablet and two holes on the right side of each
>tablet (through the plywood and the wood piece). It is best to do the
drilling
>before you pour the wax onto the tablet. Then, using strips of leather
>or rawhide shoelaces, tie the tablets together with the wax surfaces facing
>each other.
>
>IT IS BEST TO HAVE AN ADULT HELP YOU WITH THIS STEP!!
>