Testing water wheels!

This fall, the third graders have been diving into the theme of water. They have been thinking about the questions: How do humans use water? and How does water affect us? Over the last couple of weeks, we have been particularly focused on water wheels. Water wheels have been a useful tool throughout the world to harness water power to do work for hundreds of years. Whether to turn a grist mill or power a saw, humans have been utilizing these handy inventions to perform jobs quicker and more efficiently than doing them by hand. 

Last week, Laurie Wadsworth from the Lyme Historians came in to share some examples of historical mills from around Lyme, demonstrating how they harnessed the various brooks around town. By showing them historical pictures, students were able to see how the brooks were dammed up and how the mills utilized that water power. After hearing this local historical perspective, it was time to do some experimentation of their own.

In the design lab, the 3rd graders quickly started engaging in engineering design by creating their own water wheels. They are creatively using materials and are actively engaged with rapidly prototyping as they test their designs. The next step is to see what kind of work they can do with their designs! Can their water wheel lift up weights? Or light up LEDs??