Crash, swish, swirl! Do the energy stretch using actions to show how water generates electricity.
Learn about ways electricity is used every day, then with sounds and actions, demonstrate the energy stretch and have the class follow along using a fun video. Finally, brainstorm then draw pictures of ways to save electricity.
Earth has a limited supply of water that is cycled over and over again. The water cycle is important for generating electricity in B.C. The sun causes water from rivers, lakes and oceans to evaporate and rise up into the sky. The water droplets condense and form clouds. Eventually, there are so many water droplets in the clouds that they get too heavy and fall back to earth as precipitation in the form of rain or snow. The precipitation falls and travels to rivers, lakes and oceans as runoff. Some of the runoff collects in a reservoir or lake, behind a hydroelectric dam.
At the dam, the water travels down big pipes, called penstocks. Inside the dam, falling water is used to turn a large wheel called a turbine. The turbine turns a giant magnet inside huge coils of wire in a generator. This is what produces the electricity.
The electricity has to be transported to where it’s needed. The electricity from power plants travels for many miles over high-voltage wires called transmission lines. These transmission lines are held in the sky away from the ground by tall wood or metal transmission towers.
When the power lines get near a town or city, it goes into a substation. The substation reduces voltage, divides the electricity and sends it in different paths over wires called distribution lines. These distribution lines take the electricity to your school or home.
Often you will see grey cylinders called transformers on power poles. These reduce the voltage in the distribution lines to an amount that can be safely used in buildings. You may also see metal boxes with warning signs where newer houses are built. They are called pad-mounted transformers. They do the same things as the ones on the poles.
As the electricity enters your house or school, it passes through a meter. The meter measures the amount of electricity your household uses. The electricity flows through the meter, through wires in your house, and ends in electrical outlets in the walls. To use the electricity, you plug a device or appliance into the outlet.
Power Smart ideas at school
A fun activity booklet follows the journey of electricity from a dam to our homes.
Turn a pop bottle, skewers and corks into a model turbine to see how water powers B.C.
Watch how the power of falling water generates electricity.
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