Water wheels are simple machines that use the energy of flowing water to turn a wheel and the turning wheel can then power other machines to do work. Make this super simple water wheel at home or in the classroom from paper cups and a straw. We love fun, hands-on STEM projects for kids!

HOW TO MAKE A WATER WHEEL

HOW DOES A WATER WHEEL WORK?

Water wheels are machines that use the energy of flowing water to turn a wheel. The axle of the turning wheel can then power other machines to do work. A water wheel is usually made of wood or metal, with blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim.

Water wheels were used during the Middle Ages as the main source of power for driving large machines. Water wheels were used to grind grain into flour, to crush rocks, and eventually to provide electricity. It is a clean form of energy which means it’s good for the environment.

ALSO CHECK OUT: How To Make A Windmill

Make your own water wheel from cups and paper plates that really works as one of our engineering projects for kids! Read on to find out how…

ENGINEERING FOR KIDS

Engineering is all about designing and building machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles etc. Engineers take scientific principals and make things that are useful for people.

Like other areas of STEM, engineering is all about solving problems and figuring out why things do what they do. Keep in mind that a good engineering challenge will involve some science and math too!

How does this work? You might not always know the answer to that question! However, what you can do is provide learning opportunities to get your kids started with the engineering design process of planning, designing, building and reflecting.

Engineering is good for kids! Whether it be in the successes or learning through failures, engineering projects push kids to expand their horizons, experiment, problem-solve, and embrace failure as a means to success.

Check out these fun engineering activities

Click here to get your free printable engineering challenges!

WATER WHEEL PROJECT

SUPPLIES:

  • 2 Paper plates
  • Straw
  • Tape
  • Small paper cups

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Poke a hole in the center of both paper plates, the size of your straw.

STEP 2: Tape four paper cups to the back of a paper plate.

STEP 3: Tape the second plate to the other side of your paper cups. Then thread the straw through the holes you have made in the plates.

STEP 4: Check to make sure your cups can spin on the straw.

STEP 5: Hold your water wheel straw firmly under a slow stream of water in your sink and watch the action!

MORE FUN THINGS TO BUILD

HOW TO MAKE A WATER WHEEL

Click on the image below or on the link for more fun STEM activities for kids.

Best ever STEM and science activities for kids.