Water as an energy source
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Water as an energy source

Water As AnEnergy Source

School/program name


Background information for facilitator
Background Information(for facilitator)

  • Hydropower is the force or energy or moving water. It has been transformed to mechanical energy for centuries. Water wheels have historically been used to power mills for processing grains, lumber, and mineral ore, among many other things. Now, moving water is used to power turbines, which spin generators to produce electricity. How much electricity is produced depends on the available hydropower. In most cases, hydropower comes from the potential energy of water collected behind dams. The greater the volume or water behind a dam, and the greater the height difference between the intake (above the dam) and outtake (below the dam) of water, the greater the hydropower available. Waterwheels at the bases of dams are spun by the force of the water falling over the dam, or through pipes.

  • Hydroelectricity is considered clean energy because it does not produce any harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases. Hydroelectricity is the most commonly used form of renewable energy in the world. However, hydroelectric power has its drawbacks as well. Dam failures have killed thousands of people in catastrophic floods. Dams also have a huge impact on the environment both upstream and downstream of the dam. Large reservoirs form upstream of the dam, and people and cities must be relocated out of the area of flooding. Upstream flooding also destroys and divides habitats. Dams create obstacles for fish such as salmon that must swim upstream to spawn. Dams also trap sediment, which piles up behind the dam and reduces the amount of water that can be stored. Water emerging from a hydroelectric dam may also be warmer than the normal temperature of the river. This can lead to changes for the plants and animals that live below the dam, as well as changing the ability of the river to freeze during winter.


  • Opening (30 minutes)

  • Activity: Well in a Cup (60 minutes)

  • Setting the Stage (15 minutes)

  • Activity: Water Power (45 minutes)

  • Break (15 minutes)

  • Cyber Investigation: Do Re Meanders Virtual Lab (30 minutes)

  • Lunch (30 minutes)

  • Recess: Water Obstacle Course (30 minutes)

  • STEM-tasticCareers (30 minutes)

  • Engineering Challenge: Hydropower Challenge (45 minutes)

  • Mind Snacks (15 minutes)

  • Engineering Challenge: Continued (30 minutes)

  • STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (10 minutes)

  • Wrap Up (5minutes)

  • Dive Into Digital Project (60 minutes)

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • To explain how water is used to create electricity

  • To determine nature’s way of recycling, i.e., hydrological cycle

  • To explore water effects on the environment and environmental effects on water

Today s vocabulary
Today’s Vocabulary

  • Hydropower

  • Aquifer

Activity well in a cup

Activity:Well in a Cup

3 truths and 1 lie
3 Truths and 1 Lie

  • People have depended on the power of water for a millennia.

  • The water behind a dam has tremendous mechanical energy

  • The water wheel converts the energy of water into mechanical energy.

  • The three gorges dam will be able to generate 18,000 megawatts

3 truths and 1 lie1
3 Truths and 1 Lie

  • People have depended on the power of water for a millennia.

  • The water behind a dam has tremendous mechanical energy

  • The water wheel converts the energy of water into mechanical energy.

  • The three gorges dam will be able to generate 18,000 megawatts

Cyber investigation water power
CyberInvestigation:Water Power

Exploration: Water Power

How do we benefit from our water resources
How do we benefit from our water resources?

Reading Passage – Hydropower

Activity water power

Activity: Water Power

Hands-On Activity: Water Power

Cyber investigation do re meander virtual lab
CyberInvestigation:Do Re MeanderVirtual Lab

Virtual Lab: Do Re Meander

Stemtastic careers

STEMtastic Careers

What information interested you about this career? Why did it interest you?

What tools and technology does a water resource specialist use? How could these tools and technologies important to their job?

What skills, knowledge and abilities do you need to perform this job? Where their any skills, knowledge and abilities that surprised you?

What type of education do you need for this job? How is education and training important to having a successful career?

What other information about water resource specialists did you find surprising or interesting?

Engineering challenge hydropower challenge

Engineering Challenge:Hydropower Challenge

Engineering challenge hydropower challenge1
Engineering Challenge:Hydropower Challenge

  • What is electricity?

  • What is a circuit?

  • What is the difference between AC and DC?

Video; What is Electricy?

Video: Switches and Circluites Moving Electricity fro One Place to Another

Mind snacks

Mind Snacks

Virtual Lab: Getting Connected

Engineering challenge continued hydropower challenge

Engineering ChallengeContinued:Hydropower Challenge

Notebook reflection
Notebook Reflection

  • Identify at least three ways you are dependent on freshwater.

  • Explain what would happen if you had limited access to freshwater for one of those ways you identified.

  • What can you do to help ensure access to freshwater for years to come?

Lodge mccammon the shallows
Lodge McCammon:The Shallows

Song: Lodge McCammon – The Shallows