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Down in the Gutter

Go with the flow! Create a hydroelectric turbine to tap into the renewable energy of flowing water. Go outside on a sunny day to add a turbine to the outflow of a home’s downspout. Put on your raingear and head outside during the next rainy day to see your turbine in action.

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Plan

  • What will your hydroelectric turbine look like?
  • How can you ensure that moving water will move the turbine?
  • What do you know about real-life hydroelectric dams and turbines?

Do

  • Head outside to an area that will have water run off during the rain (or that you can create a current in) - a culvert, small stream or home's downspout would work. Design and create a hydroelectric turbine will which spin during the next rainstorm.
  • Throw on your rain gear, and head out during the next rainstorm to see your hydroelectric turbine in action

Review

  • How effective was your turbine? What would you improve for next time?
  • Was the flow of water an issue for your turbine (too little or too much water)?
  • How do real hydroelectric turbines ensure a consistent flow of water?

Materials

  • Various material which could be used in turbine design (cardboard, tinfoil, fabric, plastic wrap, corks)
  • Skewer or straw (to allow for turbine rotation)
  • Tape and or glue
  • Scissors

Keep it Simple

  • If you’re looking for a quicker activity, you can make a turbine that works under the faucet.  This way, you’ll have more control over the flow of the water.

Take it Further

  • See if you can use your turbine to perform a task – like moving or pulling an object.