Your students will build on what they know about potential and kinetic energy to explore how energy is transformed in dams while electricity is created from flowing water.
Observe your students so that you can assess their participation, their willingness to refine their initial sketches and their completion of the tasks.
Electricity is generated from water by using the potential energy stored in reservoirs behind dams. The water flows down and through a large tube, called a penstock. The potential energy becomes kinetic energy because the water is, effectively, falling. That kinetic energy from the fast-moving water pushes blades inside turbines, which cause generators to turn.
Inside the generators, the magnets spin past coils of copper wire, causing electrons to move. This is electromagnetism, and it is central to how the mechanical energy of the falling water is converted to electrical energy.
Generators in a hydro dam usually produce electricity with a low voltage. Transformers are used to raise and lower the voltage as needed.