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Carolina STEM Challenge®: Hydroelectric Power

$128.50 - $140.50

Product Highlights

  • Explore emerging energies while designing a waterwheel to compete with other teams in producing the most effective design.
  • High school engineering design challenge with enough materials to support 8 groups of students.
  • Carolina Kits 3D®—Lab activity that designs a solution for an engineering problem to support NGSS and 3-dimensional instruction.

2 Product Options


Students apply their knowledge of energy and energy transformations to solve the engineering problem, “How can we improve the design of a hydroelectric power system to maximize output?” Students observe a hand generator and discuss the energy transformations that occur and how those transformations relate to a hydroelectric power system. Student teams are then challenged to design and build a device that uses the energy of falling water to turn an axle and lift a paper clip as a model for generating electricity. In refining their designs, teams attempt to produce a device that lifts the paper clip the highest using 100 mL of falling water.

Time Requirement
Total, 270 minutes over multiple class periods. Teacher prep, 60 minutes. Research and prototype, 60 minutes. Design challenge, 1 or 2 class periods. Presentations and assessment, 1 or 2 class periods.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectations

Crosscutting Concepts
Energy and Matter

Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS3.A: Definitions of Energy

Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Learning Objectives

  • Design a waterwheel as a model of a hydroelectric power generator.
  • Evaluate how the structure and function of the model affect its performance and identify ways the model can be improved.
  • Understand the benefits of alternate energies to society and the environment.

Prior Knowledge and Skills
Students should be familiar with different types of energy, including gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy (including mechanical), and electrical energy. They should also understand energy transformations.


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