Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students experiment with water energy by creating a water turbine out of a plastic bottle.

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: These Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. You can download a student friendly version of this activity here and you can also check out the Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 2 Science

  • Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways (ACSSU032)
  • A push or a pull affects how an object moves or changes shape (ACSSU033)

Year 6 Science

  • Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity (ACSSU219)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-9ES, ST1-7PW, ST3-6PW.

Time required: 10 – 15 minutes to set up and demonstrate water turbine.

Resources required: Large plastic bottle, pencil or knitting needle, plastic straws, tape, string, water.

Safety advice: Depending on student age or ability, teacher may need to assist with poking holes into the water bottle using a pencil or knitting needle.

Keywords: Water, turbine, bottle.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Brief summary:

In this activity students experiment with water energy by creating a water turbine out of a plastic bottle.

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

You will need:

  • Large plastic bottle
  • Pencil or knitting needle
  • Straws
  • Tape
  • String
  • Water

What to do:

Step 1. Cut off the top of a large plastic bottle.

Step 2. Make six holes around the base of the bottle with a pencil or knitting needle. Try to make sure these holes are as evenly spaced as possible.

Step 3. Cut a straw into six even pieces and insert these into the holes in the bottle and secure them with some tape.

Step 4. Make three holes (evenly spaced) at the top of the bottle and put a string through each of these holes. Tie the three strings to a fourth piece of string.

Step 5. Over the sink or outside, pour a jug of water in the bottle. What happens? When the water is pouring out of the straws, the bottle should

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Student Worksheet

In this experiment you will make a water turbine out of a soft drink bottle.


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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