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Water Power

Be a ScientistWater is an important force of nature, capable of moving at great speeds to power machines and mills of all types. Early pioneers created settlements near waterways to power their early technologies. Today, 60% of all the electricity produced in Canada comes from the force of water rushing through water dams. This activity will show you how to build your own watermill, and do some heavy lifting.

Water is an important force of nature, capable of moving at great speeds to power machines and mills of all types. Early pioneers created settlements near waterways to power their early technologies. Today, 60%1 of all the electricity produced in Canada comes from the force of water rushing through water dams. This activity will show you how to build your own watermill, and do some heavy lifting.

Materials:

  • 1 aluminum pie plate
  • 3 to 6 small plastic cups
  • 1 wooden skewer
  • 0.5 metre of string
  • waterproof tape (electrical or duct tape)
  • 1 water jug or container
  • 1 large bucket
  • a small weight (such as keys or a bolt)

Let’s Get Started!

  1. The aluminum pie plate will be the spinning centre of the waterwheel. Pierce a hole in the centre of the plate with a pen or skewer.
  2. The cups will be arranged around the spinning centre plate as the paddles of the water wheel. To do this, make evenly spaced markings around the plate: one for every cup you plan to attach to the wheel.
  3. Use duct or electrical tape to secure each cup to the outside of the plate, where you have marked.
  4. To make a central rod, pass a wooden skewer through the centre of the plate. Make sure that the plate spins easily around the rod without getting caught.
  5. Tie the small weight to a piece of string about 0.5 metres in length. Attach the other end of the string to one end of the rod with tape.
  6. To make the waterwheel spin, have a friend hold both ends of the rod over a sink or bucket to catch any spills. Pour water over the wheel using a water jug or container, and watch as the string winds around the rod, raising the weight.

Why?

As the water falls, it pushes against the paddles, making the central wheel turn around. As the string winds up around the rod, the weight lifts into the air and work is done.

Recycling Your Materials

It is always important to reuse and recycle your materials to help the planet. Try using the water you collected in the bucket to water your garden or indoor plants, and recycle your aluminum pie plate and plastic cups or reuse them for your next watermill.

1 Environment Canada, 2010. http://www.ec.gc.ca/

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