This DIY water pipeline is easy to make with just a few simple materials. Exploring how you use gravity to move water through a pipeline is a great STEM project. Play with engineering, science, and a little math too! Gather a few items for your Junior Engineer building project and let’s get started!
HOW TO BUILD A PIPELINE
HOW DOES A WATER PIPELINE WORK
Two millennia ago, the ancient Romans created large aqueducts to transport fresh water to highly populated areas. The water was transported from higher elevations by building the aqueducts in graduated segments. This allowed gravity to push the water along until it reached its destination.
Hundreds of these were built throughout Europe and elsewhere, and along with flour mills were considered the lifeline of the Roman Empire. The ancient Chinese also made use of channels and pipe systems for public works.
Make your own pipeline below that will transport water from the main tank to a smaller tank using an incline. In order for the water to travel through a pipeline, one end needs to be higher than than the other to allow gravity to pull the water down.
You must also carefully connect the pipes and make sure those connections are watertight. Download our free printable project below and let’s get started!
STEM QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
These STEM questions for reflection are perfect to use with kiddos of all ages to talk about how the project went and what they might do differently next time around.
Use these questions for reflection with your kids after they have completed the STEM challenge to encourage discussion of results and critical thinking. Older kiddos can use these questions as a writing prompt for a STEM notebook. For younger kiddos, use the questions as a fun conversation!
- What were some of the challenges you discovered along the way?
- What worked well and what did not work well?
- What part of your model or prototype do you really like? Explain why.
- What part of your model or prototype needs improvement? Explain why.
- What other materials would you like to use if you could do this challenge again?
- What would you do differently next time?
- What parts of your model or prototype are similar to the real-world version?
BUILD A PIPELINE
This suggested use was provided by a teacher: “I have done this with 62 kids today. I showed a quick clip on water pollution and they were all in. These kids are in kindergarten and first grade. (I was once a homeschool mom also). Thanks so much!
Suitability: This activity is suitable for Kindergarten or age 5 through even middle school depending on how you structure it to fit your theme. Older kiddos, of course, may need less adult assistance and can extend the activity through journaling. Perfect for large groups on a budget!
Library Club: Join us in the library for a variety of engineering, STEM, and science projects including journaling pages, challenges, and so much more. Click here to join.
- Styrofoam cups
- Plastic bendy straws
- Masking tape
STEP 1: Poke a small hole in the bottom side of one cup and another hole at the top of another cup.
STEP 2: Figure out a way to build a stand for one cup, so that it is higher than the other. Use the straws and tape. Be creative.
STEP 3: Connect the two cups together using a straw pipeline. Poke a bendy straw through one hole and then through the hole in the other cup.
STEP 4: Pour water into the higher cup and watch it flow into the lower cup. Plug any leaks with tape. If your first try doesn’t work, try a different design.
MORE FUN THINGS TO BUILD
HOW TO BUILD A WATER PIPELINE
Click on the image below or on the link for more fun building activities for kids.