Lesson Focus

Lesson focuses on how watermills generate power. Student teams design and build a working watermill out of everyday products and test their design in a basin. Student watermills must be able to sustain three minutes of rotation. As an extension activity, older students may design a gear system that is powered by the watermill. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their watermill and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.


Full Lesson Plan
Student Worksheets

Translated Lessons:

Age Levels:

8 – 18


  • Learn about engineering design.
  • Learn about planning and construction.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • structural engineering and design
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students learn how watermills have been used throughout the ages to harness the power of water. Students work in teams to develop a their own watermill out of everyday items, then test their watermill, evaluate their own watermills and those of other students, and present their findings to the class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.