Waterwheel Student Activity Sheet Page 1 Student Activity Sheet for Waterwheel Experiment 1. Does the meter light up when you spin the wheel? If so, do you see any relationship between the speed of the wheel and the light? What is it? 2. What could you use the wheel for? Could you run another machine from it? What does the wheel produce that causes the meter to light up? Can you think of any other machines that do the same thing? 3. Let the stream of water from the bottle hit the water wheel. When the water hits the waterwheel, it is moving -- it has kinetic energy. But it is stationary when it is in the bottle -- it has no kinetic energy at that point. An important law of nature is that energy is conserved -- it can not be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. Since the water has no kinetic energy when it is in the bottle it must have some other kind of energy. It has energy because of its position in the earth's gravitational field -- it has the potential to do work because of where it is. This type of energy is called potential energy. With these ideas in mind, can you think of a way to make the wheel spin faster (using only the water)? (Hint: how can you give the water more kinetic energy when it hits the wheel?) Can you make the wheel turn more slowly? Can you think of other situations in which potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and vice versa? 4. Try changing the number of vanes of the water wheel. Leaving the water at the same height, does the wheel spin faster or slower, or the same? Try to explain why it does what you see. Why is it a good idea to leave the water at the same height when you change the number of vanes?