Science Experiment: Water Wheel

The following is a guest post from our contributing blogger, Mary Kate Warner. Let’s talk about the water wheel science experiment.

This experiment that creates a water wheel shows how water is harnessed to produce mechanical energy which can be used directly, or used to generate electricity. This lesson using water wheels will help students see that we don’t do our jobs on earth well without God pouring out his love on us.


• Empty toilet paper holder• Plastic wrap• Scotch tape• Long straight pins (hat pins)• Pieces of metal or plastic to cut to the size of the paper holder• Piece of cardboard twice the length of the toilet paper roll• Water source: faucet or pitchers 

Water Wheel Instructions:

1. Use light cardboard pieces to cover both ends of the toilet paper holder, and glue them in place. They will glue better if the circles you cut out are just slightly larger than the toilet tube.

2. Cover the toilet roll, inside and outside of tube with plastic wrap to waterproof as much as possible. Tape the plastic wrap down.

3. Cut pieces of metal or plastic into rectangles slightly smaller than the length of the tube. They should fit snugly in the tube and can be about one inch in height. If metal or plastic is not available, poster board can be used, but those pieces must also be made waterproof.

4. Using knife, make slits down the length of the tube, about ½ inch apart.

5. Insert the pieces of plastic or metal into the slits in tube.

6. Make a “U” shaped holder for the toilet tube. This can be made of cardboard which has also been waterproofed as above. The bottom of the “U” is slightly larger than the tube. Bend the cardboard to make two sides that reach as high as the top of the tube.

7. Use large pins that push through the cardboard, and use them to attach the tube to the holders.

8. Hold the water wheel under a faucet to see how the water will turn the wheel.  If a faucet is not available, use a pitcher and pour it over the water wheel into a bucket 


Before the invention of electricity, river waterfalls were used to turn paddle wheels that powered mills. Those mills that could grind wheat into flour. The idea of creating water turbines is similar to the simple water wheel. The water turbine consists of angled blades wrapped around a wheel, somewhat like a pinwheel that spins as it comes in contact with moving water. When the turbine is put in under a waterfall, for instance, the turbine moves a shaft which, in turn, powers an electrical generator. 


Isaiah 45:8 says, “You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it. I, the LORD have created it.” In living your daily life, let God’s wisdom and love shower down on you.  Open your hearts and minds wide to Jesus’ teaching. Like the water wheel, God’s love can keep you moving in the right direction, so that you can accomplish a lot of good things in your life!

Check out the Glass Half Full Science Experiment.

The above post was written by guest blogger, Mary Kate Warner. For questions about this activity, please reach out to her personally at Christianity Cove.