Sloping  Water
Grades 6-8

The Challenge:

By varying the slope of descent students will discover the difference in the energy to be extracted from falling water.


This activity shows how the force of water can be used to create mechanical energy. Students will compare how fast water passes through a flow meter when the slope changes. Students will learn that more work (mechanical energy) can be created with a steeper slope because an increase in slope will equal an increase in flow rate and force.

Objective: Students will

observe, document, and understand that as the force of falling water increases, so does its potential as any energy source.
observe how the force of falling water through a tube or pipe can be adjusted by the diameter of the tube as well as its height.
represent data by averaging.
communicate data by graphing results
draw conclusions from graphed data.

OR - State Standards:


Understand energy, its transformations, and interactions with matter.

Compare forms and behaviors of various types of energy.

Distinguish between the forms of energy including heat, chemical, mechanical, and gravitational potential energy

Trace the flow of energy transformations in a system.

Explain the principle that energy is conserved, neither created nor destroyed.

Identify how technological advances have changed humankind’s use of energy

Time: 40 minutes


Prepare for Each Team

2 soda pop bottles (same size)
2-25 cm lengths of tube
2 pour spouts
1 flow meter
stopwatch (to be used in other experiments also)
permanent marker
meter stick


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