The STEM Hub Canterbury Christ Church University
The STEM Hub



The Power of Water

On This Day

in 1814, The Times, London became the first newspaper be printed using steam power.


The Power of Water

You will Need:

  • Plastic drinks bottle
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • 2 corks
  • 1 wooden barbeque skewer
  • Thread
  • Small objects to lift
  • Tape
  • Large Bowl
  • Paper clips

What to Do:

  1. Cut the bottom off of a plastic drinks bottle. A 2-litre bottle works best for this activity.
  2. Measure an 8cm section from the rest of the bottle and cut this, so that you have a cylinder of plastic bottle that is 8cm high.
  3. Measure 2cm strips and cut these from the 8cm cylinder, then cut each strip in half.
  4. With adult help, slice 8 spaces around a piece of cork and insert the plastic strips so that they are curving in the same direction.
  5. Bend the paperclips open, and then create a loop in one end.
  6. Tape the paperclips to the outside of your bowl.
  7. Cut the wooden skewer in half, insert each end through a paperclip on each side of the bowl. Make the skewers meet in the middle and insert each end into the wheel cork you have made. The skewer should be able to turn inside the paperclip loops.
  8. Add another cork to the end of one side of the skewer, this will be your pulley.
  9. Place your water wheel under the tap and run the tap gently. The water should flow onto the wheel cork you have made.
  10. Watch the energy work!

How does it work?

Water has potential energy, because it is above the ground and gravitational energy has an effect on the water. The water wheel you have created turns this potential energy into mechanical energy! This is hydropower, which is used as a source to generate electricity as renewable energy.

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