Outdoor Learning: Water Wheels

Outdoor Learning: Water Wheels

outdoor learning

Thanks to Mark Mate Version 2.0 and our brand new mobile app, marking work while you’re outside with your class has never been easier. You can mark while you go with our mobile app, and then simply print your feedback when you’re back inside. We’re going to take advantage of this, this week with our outdoor learning idea: Water Wheels!

Water Wheels is a really engaging STEM activity which introduces hydropower as a form of renewable energy. Furthermore, it introduces the concept of forces and energy transfer. Watermills have been used all throughout history and the kinetic energy of the water has been harnessed and/or transferred to grind corn, supply drinking water to villages, irrigate crops and power textile mills. Modern hydropower uses falling water often retained by a dam to generate electricity.

As an extension of this lesson, you could attempt to harness the energy from your wheel attaching a string and a small weight to the shaft to see how much weight your students’ wheel can move.

outdoor learning

What You’ll Need

  • 2x sturdy paper plates
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Plastic tub
  • Length of dowel longer than the width of the tub
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Recycled plastic cups
  • Permanent marker
  • Stapler
  • Jug or watering can
  • Water

How To Make The Wheel

  1. Measure and mark the centre of the two paper plates.
  2. Perforate the plates with a pencil at the marks.
  3. Pushthedowelthroughthetwoplates.
  4. Staple a minimum of three cups snugly between the two plates.
  5. Thecupsshouldbeevenlyspacedandallfacing the same direction.
  6. Mark one of the cups prominently with a permanent marker.
  7. Balance the wheel width-ways across the tub.

What To Do

Pour the water from a jug into the top cup of the water wheel and watch it begin to rotate as the water flows. Count how many rotations the wheel makes using 1 litre of water. Use the marked cup to keep track of rotations. Experiment by changing the height and speed of the flow of water.

Have you already tried this lesson with your class? Is it something you’ll be trying this term? Do you have any ideas for outdoor learning you’d like us to publish – be sure to let us know!

While you’re here, why not take a look at our other Activities articles. Or subscribe to our Activites newsletter using the form below!

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positive review Very easy to use... markbook means you have a good record of achievement - good for report writing. Quick to stick in and children actually read them- easier to give an individual comment rather than a generic one.

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Jo Patricia

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