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Study how a water turbine works with a milk carton

Suitable For

Grade 4



Time Required

 <1 Hour



What’s it about?

A ‘turbine’ is a kind of a machine that rotates. Many of the world’s most powerful turbines are driven by the power of water, but some are powered by steam, gas or wind. In ancient times, falling water was used to drive a type of turbine, called a ‘water wheel’ to produce power for grinding grain. The ‘turbine’ in this science experiment will be powered by water and gravity:

Topics covered

Water turbine, Hydroelectric power, Isaac Newton, Gravity

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

The above science experiment works with hydro-power. Hydro-power means extracting power from the flow of water. This power can be used to move objects or to rotate a turbine or ‘carton’ as in this experiment. As the water rushes out of the holes in the sides of the milk carton, it exerts a force that pushes the carton in a certain direction. Because the carton is tied from its centre point to an overhead object, the carton starts to rotate around its vertical axis. This science experiment works according to Newton’s ‘Law of reaction’. The force or ‘action’ of the water rushing out of the four holes in one direction, sets up an equal force or ‘reaction’ going in the other direction spinning the carton.

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