The experiment, How Is a Pinwheel
Like a Turbine?
, appears in the section “Learn
Students will need the materials listed on the website:
Students will witness various forms of energy transfer. When placing
the blade of the pinwheel under a stream of running water, they
will see the mechanical energy of water transferred to mechanical
energy of the pinwheel. When heating the teakettle on the burner,
students will see the electrical energy from the burner change
to heat (radiant energy) that is transferred to water. When students
hold the pinwheel blades in the path of the steam and the blades
turn, they will see that the mechanical energy of moving steam
is transferred to mechanical energy of the moving pinwheel blades.
- Students should be supervised by an adult while doing this
- Students should use an oven mitt to protect their hand.
Getting It Across
Have students read the information and follow the steps on the
page. Explain that in this experiment, the energy source that
was used to create the steam is whatever energy source is used
to run the stovetop: probably electricity or natural gas. In power
plants, the steam that is used to run generator turbines can be
created from a variety of energy sources, including coal, oil,
natural gas, and nuclear power. Even geothermal energy and biomass
can be used to provide steam.
Questions and Answers